Nadia Coma Rebuild (New)

 

 

 

There have been 2 Nadia Coma’s since 1992.  Originally built by Mary Ann Taylor, eventually I was seeing many vents with MAT puppets and I didn’t like the style being duplicated.

 

I was planning on retiring the act a few years ago and I didn’t want to put more money into building a new Nadia even though #2 was ready to burst into dust!

 

So eventually I went to puppet master, Greg Ballora to refurbish Nadia #2  with hand sculpted eyes, a little paint job, and a cigarette smoking effect put in. Little did I know after all of that, audiences don’t love seeing a puppet smoke cigs in the 21st Century.

 

But last year I decided to breathe fresh air into the show, including a new build for the gymnast. Something a tad more realistic and high-end.

 

The build took a very long time.  Not only because Greg was swamped with Muppet, Disney and MTV jobs but once he was free, he had the standard task of sculpting, laying the material over the sculpt and painting. But this puppet was going to have an eye mechanism.

 

Most puppet builds needing an eye mech are used for TV or film. So the hand controller is on a cable that leads out of the puppet body off screen.  Because this puppet is a ventriloquist character, he had to design a mech that could be controlled and fit into the head.

 

This photo below was a prototype.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

^^Here is the skeleton with the eye mech test video ^^

 

 

CUSTOM MADE EYE BALL &  HAND PAINTED IRIS and PUPIL:

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE WIG TESTS:

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PAINT JOB

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

TEST #2 (press play)

 

 

This is a VERY different kind of manipulation required and will take some time to master. It’s like using a new computer or car.

 

My thumb is in the lower jaw per usual. My middle finger is on the eye mech slider when in use.  It has no upper palette to hold that finger in place to assist in opening and closing. The three other upper jaw fingers are in tight sleeves.

 

The second issue is learning to slide the eye mech simultaneously with the opening or closing of the mouth. Years of muscle memory has the middle finger as a primary anchor in manipulating the mouth. Now it won’t be. So learning to slide the middle finger up or back while pressing down the other fingers for syllables will take time.

 

Third, the mech gives the head some added weight. Therefore, controlling the mouth and head movements without the cranium being thrown around requires more controlled, sensitive manipulation over all while still being animated enough for a large theater audience. A hard balance for stage puppetry (different from TV).

 

 

 

THE WORLD OLDEST GYMNAST is now in wardrobe, being created by CHRISTINE PAPALAXIS.

I THANK THE  NEVER-ENDING GENIUS OF GREG BALLORA.

SPECIAL THANKS TO THE WORKSHOP’S  KRISTIN CHARNEY.