Ventriloquism: The Art of Talking for Two

Andy Partington is sharing some of his insight and experience as a ventriloquist. If you’ve ever wondered about this art form, this one is for you. It’s also for my dear friend, Mr Chuck Webb and his good friend, Danny!

“To be a Ventriloquist is to be an actor. A ventriloquist hast two parts to play. The part of himself is called the “straight man” in show business. The part the puppet plays is that of the “Comedian”. While your little stuffed friend will help you, you are always the actor. You will act as one person and you will make him act as the other. When you are a good actor/ventriloquist people will actually feel as though they are watching two very real and two very alive performers.”- Clinton Detweiler, The Maher Home Course of Ventriloquism

Truth be told, the above is actually the hardest part of performing as a ventriloquist. When you achieve the primary goal of allowing your audience the privilege of believing that there is a very real back and forth going occurring on stage and one of those involved is a scrap of fabric, wood, and buttons then you’re truly experiencing ventriloquism in its purest form.

But how?
When you sit down, popcorn in hand and watch a movie you begin with the desire to be pulled in and involved in the action that flickers across the screen. You want the hero to win, the bad guy to get foiled, princesses saved, and dragons slain. Although you know that it’s all technical work, good acting, and a terrific set design, you are drawn into the Magic of the act. If it’s a well done production you really live the parts with the actors. For a brief time you are drawn away from everyday life and you step temporarily into the world of make-believe. The above can also happen when you and a puppet talk on stage.

And the best kept secret of all of this is that the audience wants to go there. Every person sitting in front of your performance, story, sermon, etc. wants to be transported to that place that you’re taking them. They’re providing all the mental fairy dust that you need to boost the room up and ship them off to worlds unknown. Especially, children! They are naturally equipped with a double dose of imagination fuel.

So, with that being said, I want to take a little time to tell you that this illusion, this trick that you are going to find a near infinite amount of use for in your ministry, is capable of transcending the barriers between reality and imagination. But it takes a little work and will sometimes seem like a futile task. And when broken down it can really be a magic killer: after all, you’re just talking to yourself.
But, if you hold out and see your performance through the eyes of the children and adults who watch and wish to be carried away to whatever world you create, you will be rewarded for all the time you’ve put in thousands of times over.

It’s truly an art form. It’s great entertainment when done well. And in the hands of a person called to share the gospel, it is an invaluable tool.

Andy Partington is not noly the Minister to Preschoolers and Children at First Baptist Minden, Louisiana, he is also a ventriloquist. You can find out more about him at http://www.andypartingtonblog.com

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