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Moodoo Puppets Brings Puppetry to L.A. Schools

Cracked eggs and wire-frame cars make great puppets, just ask Moodoo Puppets creator Michael Dowell, a.k.a. Michael Moodoo.

In February 2004, Moodoo Puppets creator Michael Dowell will be teaching puppet construction to students at Ann Elementary and Aragon Avenue School, in conjunction with the Mark Taper forum's P.L.A.Y. and L.A.'s Best. Students will be introduced to a variety of puppetry forms, including hand puppets, rod puppets, full-body costumes, and Bun Raku -- a Japanese Puppetry form in which three or more people operate a single puppet.

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Four groups of twenty students, grades K-2 and 3-5, will participate. Students will construct puppets based on their own designs, featuring characters from one of two children's books. "Eggbert" is the tale of a cracked egg whose adventures take him around the world, while "Galimoto" is a south African tale, about a boy who builds a car of junk wire.

In the course of two weeks, Michael will give eighty children the tools necessary to construct and breathe life into their original creations. Michael is gifted with a powerful design ability as evidenced in his original designs for Moodoo Puppets, but he prefers to let the children come up with their own creative ideas. "My job is to empower kids to develop their own artistic visions," says Michael, "As an educator, I want them to realize their own dreams and potential."

The 10-week pilot program culminates in a student puppet show performance.