Bunraku Puppetry Movement

by Amberly Plourde

Unit Title:

Bunraku Puppetry Movement



Amberly Plourde


Unit Objective:

Students will be able to perform controlled subtle and exaggerated movement by devising puppet scene using Bunraku Puppets and principles.


Learning Level:

Jr. High Advanced or High School Proficient


Student Prior Experience:

This unit was created for a class mixed between students who are completely new to drama and those who have had many years previous experience. The students who have never taken a formal class in drama have had some practical experience either performing in shows or working back stage or on design elements of a production.


Big Idea

  1. Nonverbal Communication
  2. Breath + Movement = Energy


Enduring Understandings

Movement and Emotions are connected through breath.

Movements are based on the world they are made in.

Movements can tell specific and engaging nonverbal stories.


Essential Questions

For what reasons do we move?

How does movement communicate between people?

What affects our interpretation of movement?


Authentic Performance Tasks

  1. Students Build and Explore a Bunraku Puppet.
  2. Students Devise a Puppet Scene
  3. Student Give and Respond to Feedback for a preview
  4. Students Perform their Final Puppet Scenes


Key Knowledge and Skills

  1. Students will be able to explore and express the relationship between breath and

emotion as a cause of movement.

  1. Students will be able to express complete emotional and physical story through non

verbal performance.


National Standards

HS Proficient.

TH:Cr2I.b. Investigate the collaborative nature of the actor, director, playwright, and designers and explore their interdependent roles in a drama/theatre work.

TH:Cr3.1.I.b. Explore physical, vocal and physiological choices to develop a performance that is believable, authentic, and relevant to a drama/theatre work.

TH:Cr3.1.I.a.Practice and revise a devised or scripted drama/theatre work using theatrical staging conventions.

TH:Pr4.1.I.a. Examine how character relationships assist in telling the story of a drama/theatre work.

TH: Re7.1.I.a. Respond to what is seen, felt, and heard in a drama/theatre work to develop criteria for artistic choices

TH:Re8.1.I.c. Justify personal aesthetics, preferences, and beliefs through participation in and observation of a drama/theatre work.

8th Grade

TH:Cr1.1.8.a. Imagine and explore multiple perspectives and solutions to staging problems in a drama/ theatre work.

TH:Cr28b.Share leadership and responsibilities to develop collaborative goals when preparing or devising drama/theatre work.

TH:Cr3.1.8.a. Use repetition and analysis in order to revise devised or scripted drama/theatre work.



Lesson 1: Puppetry Principles

Objective: Student will demonstrate and practice basic puppetry principles by creating short scenes using found object puppets.


LESSON 2: Bunraku Principles

Objective: Students will be able do basic manipulations of a bunraku style puppet by working in teams to build and move their puppet.


LESSON 3: Moving As One Part 1

Objective: Students will be able to move their puppet through unified group movement by practicing and applying breathing exercises to small puppet scenes.


LESSON 4: Moving As One Part 2

Objective: Students will be able to will be able communicate with their puppets by participating in a puppet charades.


Lesson 5: Devising Puppet Scenes

Objective: Students will be able to devise puppet scene by working in groups to create a plot line and rehearse.


LESSON 6: Preview/Feedback

Objective: Students will demonstrate an understanding of appropriate and useful feedback by responding to student previews of Puppet Scenes.


Lesson 7: Rehearsal Bingo

Objective: Students will be able to improve their scenes by using a rehearsal bingo to work on the feedback they received from previews.


Lesson 8: Final Performance

Objective: Students will demonstrate controlled subtle and exaggerated movement by participating in a final Bunraku performance.


Bunraku Puppetry Unit of Lessons.Amberly Plourde