GCSE Student Testimonial 

The Untold Fable of Fritz Workshop at AKS Lytham St Anne's 01.02.2024

The workshop presented by the Unsettled Theatre Company, on 1st February, was unlike any other I have been to at AKS, and it really reminded me how drama at school and in the world is so diverse and has an infinite number of different styles and techniques. Puppetry was the focus of the workshop and through various activities we managed to build up the basic skills needed to attempt it. 

After warming up and doing various games in order to introduce ourselves and get our brains focused, we started by learning the 3 most important things that make up the base of puppetry. Breath. Weight. Focus. 3 separate qualities, all perfectly capable on their own, but when brought together, they turn what could be anything into a lifelike creature. In order to study these each participant was given a single piece of newspaper and was instructed to make a creature that resembled that of a human – the head, the body, the arms, the legs, all joined together to form a puppet.  

Then we were told to attempt to make them breathe as for any puppet to look real they must. I wasn’t expecting something as simple as inhaling and exhaling to be so difficult to replicate on an object, as with too much movement, it would look animated and unrealistic, but with too little, it wouldn’t look like anything was happening and the newspaper still looked like a piece of newspaper instead of some creature we were attempting to create. Though, with the help of the instructors and their impressive demonstrations, I was able to make my creature come to life along with many others and soon, as a group we had some grasp on the first idea of “breath”. 

We swiftly moved onto the next key word. Weight. It was fascinating to learn how much thought and effort goes into making a puppet move, let alone jump. For example, if you wanted to make your newspaper-creature jump you had to make sure that they moved quicker on the way down than on the way up in order to make it as realistic as possible. And you had to make sure you bent their knees on both directions, both simple things that proved to be difficult in practice, due to the many other things you had to keep in mind at the same time. Like with learning breath, we put what we had learnt into practice and moved around the room with our puppets. 

Alongside these two activities, we played a game where we learnt about the fundamentals of a good story: the beginning, the middle, and the end. In the game, we stood in a circle and one by one added one sentence to create a story, focusing on these 3 things. After a lot of fun, we moved onto the final activity, my favourite, we started in groups of 3 and 4 and together we created a humanoid puppet which we could use to learn the final idea of “focus” as well as putting our previous into use. Having focus basically meant that you had to always keep your own focus on your puppet, as if you were to look around the room, we learnt it distracted the audience from the story you were trying to communicate. With all three skills learnt, we began to put together a small narrative with our puppets, focusing on the idea of the discovery of water in a puddle. I found this activity the most enjoyable, as it gave us so much creative freedom and soon funny ideas were being relayed into our stories.  

After such a great workshop, I had high hopes for the performance, “The Untold Fable of Fritz,” and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The story depicted was about a stone-cold king and his curious, playful son named Fritz who became dangerously sick. We watch as this king’s rock-hard walls that kept any emotions in slowly break over the desperation and want of one thing. The survival of his son. We watch as he grows from a king into a father and see there is nothing a loving parent wouldn’t do for their son even if it meant life or death. Although I loved the plot and all the incredible acting and well-crafter characters, one thing did steal the spotlight. If it weren’t for his unnatural skin tone and all-round appearance, I wouldn’t have known it was a puppet playing the part of Fritz instead of a real-life boy. Although, he spoke not one word it was almost like I knew what he was saying, his innermost thoughts, all through his body language and the way he was made to move. It all seemed so real, and I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that a puppet was performing.  

Overall, if I had to sum up the entire experience in a word, I would say it was incredibly inspiring and was a style myself and many others in the workshop had never been introduced to.  

“It was great to learn a different way of acting that I never had before, it made me realise that there’s so many different versions of drama”. - Ani Navaneethan, Year 10 

As a drama GCSE student, I find it so important to learn and gain a variety of styles of acting as it can help you to make the most creative ideas come to life. As a result, I think the workshop was something greatly beneficial and I enjoyed it thoroughly. 

By Hiruni P, Year 10

With thanks to AKS Lytham - The Untold Fable of Fritz Workshop - by Hiruni P, Year 10 (akslytham.com)