Power Play - Tableau article on Marissa Fenley

marissa fenley and puppet friend

TAPS PhD student Marissa Fenley studies control dynamics between ventriloquists and their dummies.

by Maureen Searcy

There’s much more to puppetry than a performer and a prop, says Marissa Fenley. As a joint doctoral student in English Language and Literature and Theater and Performance Studies who grew up making puppets in an artistic family, Fenley studies the power dynamics of the art onstage and in literature.

Examining puppetry in twentieth- and twenty-first-century theater, television, film, and literature, she considers the particular mechanics of different styles, like ventriloquism and marionette shows, and analyzes how techniques influence the intimate relationship between puppet and puppeteer, as well as with other puppets and the audience. Fenley’s first dissertation chapter examines ventriloquism through the lens of race, pedagogy, therapy, and motherhood...Read the full article here.