Now that you have set up your theater and prepared
your scenery and figures, you are ready to perform! Some texts, or
scripts, are available with plays for model
theater, but scripts are also available as children’s plays and can be
adapted to model theater. Check with your reference librarian. See
Creating your own plays.
Keeping the action going is important in model
theater. When a character is speaking, move the figure slightly back and
forth so that the viewing audience can tell who is speaking.
Be prepared to change the scenes quickly, so the
audience does not loose interest. Some performers use changeable sets,
as mentioned earlier, so that everything is ready to just slide in for
each scene. They tape or glue scenery supports to the cardboard “floor”,
or base, and can even cut slits into the cardboard to slip upright
supports though for scenery. This keeps the feet of the supports out of
the way of the figure sticks. Sometimes they have extra figures for each
scene. If you do not use changeable sets, have the set pieces together
and ready to place as fast as possible. You may wish to have an
assistant operate a narrative figure in front of the curtain between
Special effects can be achieved with lighting and
moveable scenery. Some scenery is printed on both sides, so that when
back lit another image shows or a change appears in the forward scene.
Examples of this are a forest when back lit shows a ring of dancing
fairies or an interior scene shows light coming through a window, or a
daylight landscape turns to a sunset.
Some professional performers make sound tracks
using friends and other performers for different voices, and adding
sound effects and music. In the past, of course, this was all done live,
with sounds made from various implements and voices, making performances
lively and often entertaining in the method itself! A few performers
still do this, and it is very fun for families or groups to do live