The Kids on the Block Style of Puppetry
The style of puppetry used by The Kids on the Block is based on a Japanese style of puppetry called Bunraku (Boon-rah-koo). In authentic Japanese Bunraku puppet theater, there are three puppeteers who operate one puppet, two of whom are dressed totally in black and operate the puppet from behind. The leading puppeteer, who wears bright colors, holds the back of the puppet and operates the right hand, head and eyebrows. The second person moves the left hand and the third operates the feet. The puppeteers are soon forgotten by the audience and the puppets seem to come alive.
Kids on the Block puppets are manipulated in much the same way. However, only one puppeteer is needed to operate each "hand and rod" puppet. The puppeteer, dressed in black, stands behind the puppet with one hand in the puppet's head. The other hand manipulates the puppet's arm using the black hand-rods. This style of puppetry is extremely effective in creating an atmosphere where children feel comfortable asking the puppets questions about the given topic. As in Japanese Bunraku puppet theater, the puppeteers seem to disappear during the program performance.