Chris Piazza | Fritz

Dimensions: Puppet  7 1/2 ft. tall - Box  10 1/2 ft. tall x 4’x 4’ (at base)

Materials: Antique gelatin sequins, tinsel, blown glass beads, silver leaf, aluminum sheeting.

Character:Fritz is based on Harlequin - but in a state of shock, dressed as a firecracker on The Fourth Of July. Harlequin, prince of numskulls, clowns and dan-cing rouges, was the person-ification of wit, irony, and the physical embodiment of bounce - thus the spirit of Fred Astaire who this puppet is in homage to - and to Mr. Astaire’s extraordinary fire-cracker dance in Holiday Inn, which I’m certain convinced anyone who hadn’tcome to the conclusion already that he was a national treasure. I adore Fred Astaire.


History of Fritz:Fritz’s torso is made of un-wound spools of gelatin sequins in dark blue and silver arranged on threaded rods gathered together into a tube...a “fire cracker”... made from all that concentrated material which, ironically, would melt if brought in contact with water. (Gun powder being also compromised by water, I find this similarity a fortunate metaphor.) He has long blue silk arms and legs, and stands pigeon toed, with hands held out as if he’s about to explode. He wears a fire-cracker hat, almost as tall as his body, made out of an old paper tube covered with what is left of some silver tinsel that was originally used, as was so much of the traditional theatrical materials I work with, in mid-town “Follies”. The firecracker‘s sparks are made of old blown glass beads that suggest those light bulb garlands strung across summer street fairs, like Little Italy’s “Feast of San Gennaro”.

The display box is meant to suggest a 1930’s rocket ship straight out of every tacky sci-fi movie. It’s a 10 1/2 ft. tall silver leafed wooden armature covered  with alum-inum sheeting. It stands ready for take-off and very home made, reminiscent of a tincan effort by Spanky and Alfalfa at some desperate, last minute, Our Gang competition.