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The Gum Jublet Puppetry College.

Two letters:

"Ho there, friend Jeremy!

Right glad am I to be resident at this institute. There ne'er was a braver building. The walls are of thick vines, hairy as dogs' legs, and so tightly intertwined and neatly neighboured that no light can pass through them directly, but must filter in and fill each room with an emerald glow, delightful to the eye. We are well supplied with both puppets and tutors. The puppets here are finely wrought, save those we make ourselves which are as yet rude and thick when compared to the seamless mouldings and carvings and sawings and knittings and shapings and glass-blowings that have taken place in Gum Gooloo Gum Jublet long before our time. Those puppet-makers of old were rare indeed.
I will write to you again in short order but now I must to sleep. We have lessons in sheet-puppetry early on the morrow.

Your friend Madeline Limbo.

Ho, Jeremy,

We wake early and go late to our beds. Behold the sight that greets us with our wakefulness. It is a rack of puppets: foot-puppets, sheet-puppets, water-puppets, pole-puppets, hand-puppets, stilt-puppets, finger-puppets, puppets that must be operated by five persons spread apart in a broad circle, and marionettes of every material and craft. This silent army hangs in our dormitory and spends its nights casting moulded glares about the room. We breakfast on eight quail eggs apiece, with minced cardoons and soup of an unusual hue made from the flesh of melons; and thereafter we begin our day's work. Each day is given its own timetable. Here, I write you an example, thus:

Day the First
Morning: Training of the voice
After Noon: The Art of Sheet Puppetry.

Day the Second
Morning: Exercises to Strengthen the Arms.
After Noon: The Workings of Puppets that cover the Lower Body.

Day the Third
Morning: Exercises to Strengthen the Mind.
After Noon: The Manipulation of Water Puppets.

Day the Fourth
Morning: Further Training of the voice.
After Noon: The Inner secrets of the Marionette; and the crafting Thereof.

Day the Fifth
Morning: How to Intuit the Notion of a piece of Theatre
After Noon: Putting into practise the Intuition of a Piece of Theatre.

And so, you see, on it goes. Our meals are all fruit, eggs and leaves; and we get ourselves to bed at three hours past sunset. Of the current time, we are interpreting the works of De Costanz Lowflower into a piece to be performed at a gathering in the middle of this year. Right glad was I to be given the role of a Monster! It is a sweet half-body puppet with trails of crimson sackery following me as I move. This sackery is the creature's tail. Our tutors tell us to guard the health of our puppets as we would our own, and this we do with merry rigour. My Monster hangs above my bed at night and I am very happy.

With Regards, Madeline Limbo."

(A description of A visit to the Puppetry College, by Naimah Seeress Myst.)

"After visiting Gum Jublet Puppetry College, I shall never look at puppets the same way.

Gum Gooloo Gum Jublet is a warm and flourishing city, it's simplicity and garden-like scene makes you feel quite at home. After trading a wedge of cheese for a jublet, I strolled down the street -- Gum Gooloo has only one spiraling street.. Very interesting, don't you think?

Anyhow, as I was taking in all the lovely landscape, a man in his late 20s, I believe, walked up to me and asked if I was interested in puppets. I nodded, though I wasn't really. He started to walk, and I proceeded to follow him. We reached a building, which had walls that seemed to be made of thick vines interwined in intricate patterns, like lace your grandmother would show you. When we entered, everything seemed to be bathed in a green light. I realized the vines had blocked most of the sunlight out, but what passed through was converted into an emerald green. Then I looked around and there were mounds and racks and shelves of all sorts of puppets about us. Some hung by strings, other made of sheets, some were bigger than me, others as small as a thimble. A strange but captivating sight, really.

The man, whose name I learned was Leif Melifluous, motioned to one that was hung on a shelf. Quite realistic looking with a wig of copper hair and eyes of aquamarine, her lips painted a fire-engine red, clothed in a dress flowing of crimson. She had a saucy expression on her face.

"This is a marionette. Her name is Brigit; she starred in a play called "What Cruel Person Put S in Lisp?". It was a hit.

He moved down a few shelves and pointed to one life-sized, a few inches taller than me, chestnut strands of hair ("Beastie hair," he said) sewed into his head. He was dressed in a tuxedo and had a practical, logical look to him.

"He was a minor character in the musical "Why Spork? Why Not Foon?" "

Another caught my eye. He said it was a hand puppet. It looked like slightly disturbed beastie dressed in what seemed like pink chiffon.

"That's Bob Marmelade; big hit with the little ones. Often used for birthday parties."

It was an interesting experience. And he said we had to get going. I turned one last time and saw a cluster of sheet puppets staring at me. Well, it seemed like they were staring at me. I thought I was seeing things. Then Birgit's hand slowly came up in a farewell. I nearly wet myself. But I will be coming back; some of them were just hilarious and they say laughter is the best medicine."

You can read about Ex's puppetry theatre in the Exian Theatre Guide