The Doctor Puppet is pure artistic whimsy. If you haven't watched the poignant series, you've missed how micro-expressions become charming, as well as heartbreaking, in this art medium. Featuring the 11th Doctor, he and the rest of his faces have shown up in a series of stop-motion adventures in puppet time and space. Yes, puppet time - stop motion animation takes a whole lot more time than even a Moffat masterpiece can. Just thinking of how much Matt Smith moves makes me dizzy at his normal speed, now slow him down.
This seemingly simple puppet fits Aristotle's definition of art. Not to be dry, it is in his philosophy of forms where he tells us that a true artist encapsulates his/her inspiration into the creation. In this series, that muse is pure 11th Doctor. Look at the image, and even without movement, it's him. I am awed that anyone has this artistic ability, but then I watch him engage the story and words fail me.
In my quest to understand, I was able to contact Alisa Stern, the gifted artist behind the series, and ask her a few brief questions about why this series is so effective for so many of us. First of all, I assumed that a studio, or even the BBC, were behind the series. But as Peter Capaldi, an artist himself, has mentioned, it's fans that can overwhelm the hired staff by sharing their unique point-of-view. The Doctor Puppet creator and principal artist, Alisa, is that-- a gifted woman who is self-funding these adventures along with her friends. So, not only is she giving us her creation and time, but clearly she is doing it first for her own benefit to fit her own aesthetic.
I asked Alisa, "why the eleventh Doctor?" She quickly answered,
"Matt Smith is such a 'puppet-y' Doctor in the way he acts and moves, that I was inspired to make him as an actual puppet."I agree with her, in exposing my bias--he IS my Doctor, but it was her further insight that shows why her perception created her art.
"The Eleventh Doctor puppet came first, then the story was built around him."Yes! I found the heart of her drive to invest all these movements, emotions and presence into a puppet. She loves the puppet, his stories and the work creating him, and new stories where he travels onward. Here, my admiration made sense.
As I child, I remember seeing the original airing of the animated "Rudolph," and though I own copies in every format (seriously - even Betamax), here was the perfect person to ask about a red-nosed reindeer's influence and about the time creating him actually takes. I wasn't surprised when Alisa told me that she "takes a lot of artistic inspiration from Rankin/Bass" the creator of Rudolph and that her appreciation of their "stop motion productions" influenced her to tell Eleven's story that way. She went as far to say, "I adore their style." Am I comparing her 11th Doctor to the iconic Rudolph? I am.
But if Alisa and her friends have given the inspiration, time and talent... How can she fund these without a studio? Is there merchandise? No. Subscribers? No. And here we are awaiting the finale. Yes! An Indiegogo funding page makes sense and I was pleased to show my appreciation with a few American dollars. I was thrilled to receive a photo gallery thank-you of 12 and Missy having a romp in the park!
And because of that email, I decided to reach out to her. I wanted the answers I've shared above, but I wanted to know the future of the series--of the character, too. She told me that,
"We want to keep making Doctor Puppet videos, but our future stories won't be so long and involved. Fans can expect some one-off videos like our Christmas special, 'The Planet That Came for Christmas.'"
I want more stories. Do you? Join me in either monetarily cheering them on or at least sharing the Indiegogo link. How? Their Facebook page is a good starting place. I will tell you that the series is addictive. Binge watching for us is easy... trying to imagine the artistic simplicity and dedication required to make these micro-expressions into a story is daunting. But, yes, stories. I hear Matt Smith's voice saying "we are all stories in the end. Make it a good one." Alisa & company do. She wants you to know that she will "also be launching some new projects soon [and for us to] stay tuned!"
Personally, I want my own Doctor Puppet. So if the BBC staff read this, I know you have to know about the Doctor Puppet, so talk to the artist. Look at her art. Don't dismiss them as mere puppets. This IS art and heart and the essence of Doctor Who encapsulated in each tortuously created glorious moment of The Doctor Puppet.
You can find out more and help to complete the Eleventh Doctor's story here.
Risk-averse, Stacy would not even enter the TARDIS in case it suddenly set to motion. Yet, gentle reader, she feels compelled to clarify that she writes opinion or editorial pieces. By using logic and reasoning, she always hopes to coherently provoke honest discourse.