the student newspaper of Shorewood High School

The Tempest

the student newspaper of Shorewood High School

The Tempest

the student newspaper of Shorewood High School

The Tempest

The amazing world of puppetry

One student’s journey to his new loved profession
Thorlileison+with+his+favorite+puppet%2C+Flayed
by Kat Sitaras
Thorlileison with his favorite puppet, Flayed

The world of puppet art is a lesser-known yet interesting place. Duncan Throlileison, senior, is one of the few puppeteers at Shorewood High School. Starting from terrible beginnings, Throlileison is now beginning to thrive with his puppeteering and is on track to go to the most prestigious puppet art school in the country… the University of Connecticut. 

Throlileison’s puppet art journey began in his backyard, which in reality was a junkyard. With no money or support from his family, Throlileison had to fend for himself and work hard to achieve his puppet art dreams. Even though Throlileison stated “I don’t believe in recycling,” he used metal, styrofoam, screws, and bolts from around his junkyard to create his puppets. Although the puppets wouldn’t last long, he never gave up his passion and even performed shows for his mom and dad in his backyard, but alas the support from them was absent, “…none of them (my family) would watch. 

I would cry ‘Mom, Dad, please look at me.’ They would say ‘NUH-UH’ and they’d look away.” All hope was not lost, as Throlileison still had an audience, “The only audience I ever had were the rats, and that was only when I started making the puppets out of food.” While it was great that Throlilieson had some type of support in his craft, the choice of making his puppets out of food was not the best one, as the rats would end up attacking the puppets, and by extension his hands. 

With scarred-up hands and a scarred-up confidence, Throlileison decided it was time to take a break from hand puppetry and try a different type of puppetry, ventriloquism. During his time with ventriloquism, Throlileison discovered that ventriloquism doesn’t fulfill his passion in the same way hand puppetry does. “I prefer not to be seen when my puppets are presented before people. I believe that I have one soul and that soul is either in my body or in the body of the puppet, and therefore if we are both seen, we both only have half a soul.”

With hand puppetry, Throlileison is never seen, making him feel truly connected with his puppet. Throlileison’s biggest dream is to one day be inside his own puppet creation, specifically inside a balloon puppet that is most commonly seen at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades. He hopes to one day control the balloon puppet, or what he likes to call a sky puppet, from the inside and watch all the people on the street staring up in awe, or terror, at his creation. 

Throlileison’s journey to achieving his dreams will continue into college at the University of Connecticut,  the only school in the country that offers puppet art (don’t fact-check that). For Throlileison, having only one option to learn how to master the art of puppetry is an act of oppression. “Us puppeteers are a very oppressed group of people. I would say one of the most oppressed in the world, if not the most oppressed. Only one major university in the US provides my specific needs in regards to puppet art.”

Although this oppression has made things challenging, Throlileison has been and will be supported by his fellow puppeteers, as they are everywhere. Your friends may be puppeteers, your family may be puppeteers…even you may be a puppeteer. “I’ve asked myself many times, am I a man… or am I a muppet? If I’m a man, I’m a muppet of a man.”

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About the Contributor
Kat Sitaras
Kat Sitaras, Staff
Hi I'm Kat, she/they, and this is my first year on Newspaper! I joined the newspaper because I would like to create art that can be shown in the paper and that can help give a good visual for the stories. I also am open to learning more about the process of page design and interviewing, so I'm excited to improve my skills in those areas!

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