Trinculo’s Puppet: A Jester’s Staff Comes to Life

By Tara Chuisano


Trinculo with buddy Stephano (Abby Lee)

In IU’s production of The Tempest, I play a wild shipwrecked jester and I have a puppet to talk to on stage. Over the course of the rehearsal process I have become buddies with the little guy. He has been endowed with the name:  Trinculi. Like, a mini Trinculo.

This puppet actually looks like me because the folks in the prop shop took some 3D images of my face and through the magic of 3D printing made a puppet head! It was then painted to match my costuming and coloring. Ryan Miller was the props designer for this show and took a special interest in my little puppet friend.

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This little guy keeps me company on stage when I have various asides to the audience- commenting on the action happening in the main part of the scene. In a sense, I always have an audience of one.  It’s great to play with the puppet and come up with focal points for him and help to tell his story as well. Sometimes, when I’m directly addressing he audience, I like to use the puppet in a Brechtian way and have the puppet look at me while I’m facing out front. Then maybe I take a look to the puppet, or a slow side-eye, or a quick series of looks back and forth.

Trinculo and Trinculi sharing a moment. Photo by Jeremy Hogan

It’s also fun to have Trinculi interact with Stephano and Caliban.   He’s either friend or foe depending on who he’s talking to. Ultimately, I’m creating my role and the role of the puppet simultaneously.  Trinculi is just as important.  His physical and emotional life has to be specific. It’s quite a task for an actress in a fast-paced, high energy scene to work all this out, but I am up for the challenge!  I love working in detail like this. Trinculi and I are besties, and he’s my only friend when Stephano stops paying attention to me.  This jester is grateful for his little friend.

chiusano-taraTara Chiusano is a second year acting M.F.A. student at IU. For IU Summer Theatre: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck), Sense and Sensibility (Lucy Steele). Past credits at IU: Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike (Sonia), Mr. Burns: A post-apocalyptic play (Maria/Lisa Simpson), Occupants (Alma), King Lear (Cordelia). Regional: Actor’s Express (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Stage Door Players (Once Upon a Mattress), The Legacy Theatre (Keep on the Sunny Side, Harry the Dirty Dog), Georgia Ensemble Theatre (James and the Giant Peach, Camelot). Tara received her B.A. in theatre from James Madison University.

About IU Theatre Department

Welcome to the 7th & Jordan blog. This blog is a peek behind the curtain at the productions and people at Indiana University's Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance.
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