Theatre & Dance ETDs


Casey Mráz

Publication Date



Puppets have been used in performance by many cultures for thousands of years. Their roles in performance are constantly changing and evolving. Throughout the twentieth century there has been much contention between performance theorists over what defines a puppet. I aim toward a definition that emphasizes the puppet/audience and puppet/puppeteer relationship: Puppet: Any performing object that mechanizes human facial/bodily structures and features through movement and animates emotion. Puppets make us laugh because they are larger than life, playful and tend to employ comic mannerisms. Therefore, performing their sexuality, gender or race and placing them in violent situations magnifies their comic potential. Puppets, like comedy, possess the power of subversion. This is their special agency in performance. They distance us from reality through performance at the same time they reinforce a suspended reality. Puppets also perform an imitation of an imitation of life rather than the direct imitation of life itself.

Degree Name

Dramatic Writing

Level of Degree


Department Name

Theatre & Dance

First Advisor

Herrera, Brian

First Committee Member (Chair)

Linnell, Jim

Second Committee Member

Cyrino, Monica

Third Committee Member

Avila, Elaine




Puppets, Playwriting

Document Type