Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Making a giant puppet / costume for a pantomime giant

Here's a giant costume made for a panto.
It was built by adapting an existing papier mache scarecrow head, adding a lightweight support-brace to mount the head onto an actor's head and upper body. With 18" hands added, it gives a fairly big physical presence despite weighing very little.

When worn, the giant stands about 7' 6". The height is dependent on the height of the wearer. The costume adds about 20" (50cm) to the height of the operator and about 24" (60 cm) to the length of the arms, and this was a 5' 10" actor.

Making a pantomime Giant

Inside the costume is a head mount and shoulder braces (thin black loops)

Making a pantomime Giant

Looking up into the costume. The head sits on a skull cap, with front and back bracing to take the weight off the actor's neck.

Making a pantomime Giant

The head itself was made previously by someone else. To make it wearable a mount was added, then a lightweight set of shoulders built up (mainly thin card over a willow stick frame with bubble wrap skinning.

Making Panto Giant costume

A close-up of the shoulder base.

Making Panto Giant costume

The shoulders were covered in papier mache, which was blended into the exisitng head to form on solid head and shoulder unit.

Making Panto Giant costume

From the front...

Making Panto Giant costume

Neck/head joint shown here after final tinted latex coat has been added for durability.

Making hands for a pantomime giant

Next some hands were needed...
Note there is a whole post about how these were made:
http://makingweirdstuff.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/making-lightweight-hands-for-giant.html

Making a pantomime Giant

The head and hands had a final coat of coloured latex, to keep the skin colours consistent

Making hands for a pantomime giant

The hands were given sleeve-arms, made from white sheets...

Making a pantomime Giant

There is bubble wrap inside the sleeves to keep them from collapsing and to make sure they still look bulky like arms...

Making a pantomime Giant

The sleeves were attached to the shoulders...

Making a pantomime Giant

And a tunic was fitted over the top...
You can't see them here, but each hand has a 3' pole attached for the actor to operate the puppety arms. The arm span is quite substantial.

Making a pantomime Giant

Here it is on stage, prior to action...

V&A charity panto 2012

And with the actor in costume. They are stooping here to allow a dresser adjust the collar, but you can get a sense of the relative size of the giant compared to the other actors.

V&A charity panto 2012

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