On May 9th I was flown out to Doha, Qatar to be lead puppeteer and puppetwrangler on a new show produced by Baraem a part of Al Jazeera Childrens Channel . The show entitled حكايات العم مصلح or 'Am Mosleh' (Tales of Uncle Mosleh) was to be the first string puppet show produced by the Channel.
I arrived at about 2:30am to a very hot Qatar. Being English i'm not used to temperatures in the 40's and nearly 50's, so it was a bit of shocked when I departed the plane. however I was met by a driver from the channel who drove me to my air conditioned hotel apartment. Later that day I was driven to Baraem's studios in Education City , a developing part of Doha, where I met a lot of the producers and crew.
There were 5 of us operating the marionettes, myself and my brother Richard doing most of the movements with voices, lip sync and additional puppetry provided by Wael Awad Ali, Hanane El-Dirani and Tamer Mostafa. Over the following 5 weeks we filmed 15 episodes.
I was lead puppeteer but also spent a lot of time trying to get the most out of the basic puppets. I repaired, adjusted, restrung and repainted all of the marionettes at one point or another.
I could write pages of detail about the various elements of the show and the problems inherent, but in short we worked hard to overcome them as best we could and produced a nice result.
If the channel gets the go ahead for a second series then the producers and directors know much better now how we can make big improvements next time around, so fingers crossed.
The show is about an old carpenter – Am Mosleh who works with a group of puppets to narrate captivating stories and tales from all over the world. The stories acted out by the marionettes are variations on classic folk tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood and Aladdin.
It is being premiered on the Baraem TV Channel as well as Al Jazeera Children throughout Ramadan. If you are in the UK you can get Al Jazeera Children on Sky 823
You can see some behind the scenes pictures here:
And follow this link for an episode of the show::
Am Mosleh - Episode 3 - 'Three Sheep'