Puppet Plays - Script Writing & Puppet Show Presentation (PBL)

Puppet Play Project Overview

Choose an appropriate topic, theme or life lesson for a K-2 audience, and write a short puppet play that will be performed in front of that audience.  
Your job is to make sure the story line and the dialogue is appropriate for K-2 grades and teaches them some kind of valuable moral your audience needs to hear. 

Guidelines: Puppet Play Writing Expectations (for Live Performance Before K-2 Audience)

  1. Write a brief description of the play in story map format and get it approved by your teacher. 
    • Lesson Taught (moral)
    • Puppet Characters (use only 2-3)
    • Conflict/Problem
    • Resolution
    • Props Used
  2. Once approved, write a rough draft of the actual puppet play in puppet play script format (see link for directions).
    • to the script add sound effects, timings (as in pause for two seconds), what the characters may be doing when not talking, and directions for when props are used   
  3. Edit and revise your rough draft. Make sure your story makes sense to the listener, is descriptive and feels like a natural conversation. 
  4. When fully done typing up the play, show it to your teacher for final approval.
  5. When your puppet play is fully approved, you can pick the puppets of your choice and begin practicing your puppet play, making sure you are operating the puppets to the best of expectations (see link for details)

Elements of a Puppet Play Script

  • A puppet play has all the elements of a story: setting, characters, problem/conflict, plot, climax, resolution and theme. 
  • The most common format used to convey the puppet play is dialogue. This type of story is mostly an ongoing conversation between characters. 
  • Occasionally, you may have a narrator to add extra information about the setting and events that you are not having your characters cover. This is a good way to shorten the story and get to the meat of the story in which your characters will act and talk. This narrator can be someone on the puppet stage who is separate from the rest of the characters, or someone standing offstage but near or next to the puppet stage. It should be fully clear to the listener that this narrator character is not part of the main story characters of the actual play. That being said, the narrator can interact with the story characters if you do decide it would enhance the story.  
  • The setting of the puppet play can be established through the backdrop landscape and even through the props used during the performance.
  • A puppet play is written to be performed in front of a live audience
  • Make sure to give your characters appropriate and unique voicing to match the personality you want each character to convey. In order to get this personality to come through, you can write directions for the puppeteers using parentheses (just like this) so they can approximate the personality you envision for your characters.  Directions in parenthesis are never meant to be read out loud to the audience but are exclusively written for the puppeteer to know how to do something or with what emotion or reaction to use when doing it.  
  • The puppet play can occasionally have some kind of repetitive phrase that the audience will recognize, anticipate, allowing them to participate in speaking out the repetitive phrase along with the puppet characters. This is done in order to engage the audience and involve them through audience participation as they repeat the line, along with the character(s). 
  • The theme is crucial to the puppet play. Make sure your story teaches a valuable and clear lesson to the audience. 
  • For a puppet play you have to think through your story and make sure that what the characters do is something that can be done by puppets. Remember, there are limitations to what puppets can do. For example, flying through the air like Superman might not work well given that a puppet has a puppeteer's hand going into it. To make that character fly through the air would not look realistic with a visible puppeteer's hand.  

The Performance Could Be Done... 

  1. live - live puppets manipulation & live voicing of script 
  2. live, with a recording of the script - live puppet manipulation, with voicing coming from the recorded script 
  3. or by showing a pre-recorded video of your puppet performance