Allistic Puppeteer Mary Robinette Kowal posted this thread on Twitter on 7th February
Not autistic, but I am a professional puppeteer and designer. The semantics of this are very poorly thought-out and deeply problematic.
The first design question is always, why use a puppet? (1/6)
Possible answers to “why use a puppet”:
- character needs to do something impossible
- You run a puppet theatre.
- Aesthetic or semantic commentary
- They aren’t human (2/6)
I’ll grant that I’m looking at a clip, not the entire play. But the only semantic justification I can imagine is if the big reveal at the end is that “there’s a person trapped inside” the entire time. That is, at best, a tired trope.
But really, that’s still super damaging. (3/6)
What it does is reinforce the idea that there is a neurotypical ideal and that everyone who doesn’t fit into those behaviors is not human.
In this play, literally.
This is an excellent reason to not use a puppet (4/6)
Also from a pure design standpoint, why is the puppet gray? And if you’re going to have an overt puppet, commit to it. This humanette is clumsy and aesthetically really clunky. (5/6)
PS for another look at an autistic puppet character, look at Julia on Sesame Street. She’s a puppet because the characters she interacts with most are also puppets. They all exist on the same plane of reality. (6/6)