At the beginning of the Puppet Challenge I was toying around with stories. There were some half baked ideas about generic dragons and a slightly more cogent plan to create Mr Fox and Lady Mary. But as my heart and head weren’t really behind these they fell by the wayside. So I came at the challenge from a different angle – deciding instead on what I wanted to make and then finding a story to fit it into. I have been wanting to make an owl that I could animate from sometime and the impetus to try the wings and the turning head has been driving my sketches and ideas. So an owl it would be. That just left the problem of the story; quite how the owl was to fit into the theme, particularly as the animal came without any real driver of myth or fable attached.
As owls fit into mythology rather well, think Pallas Athena, I didn’t think there would be any great problems weaving the puppet into a narrative but I didn’t particularly want to create a full length Goddess. I thought about Aesop’s fables and was rather attracted by the story of the Owl and the birds. However I just don’t have the free time to make all the birds for the audience.
Then I remembered a long since read and almost forgotten story of the owl. One that really fits well with the idea of the bird and that I now have some ideas on how to tell the story.
I first found the story, as many children did, through the Owl Service. As a young reader I adored the worlds created by Alan Garner; the story of Blodeuwedd that he interwove through that books was one that stuck in the memory. I do remember attempting to read the Mabinogion in the Penguin edition but have not dipped into the stories for a very long time. So I am relearning the story of Lier and Blodeuwedd. I think I have the way to tell the tale now and I get to finish the owl puppet within the criteria of the challenge.
I genuinely did not realise the lovely radio version would be on this year. But here it is.