LSU teaches students to pull the world’s strings

Louisiana State University (LSU) is teaching its students how to keep the world on a string.

According to The Daily Reveille, LSU’s student newspaper, many students take the Puppets and Props course to fulfill their elective requirements for graduation; however, Professor John LeBret—a puppeteer himself—told the publication that “[the class] serves a much greater purpose than most other classes students will take.”

“College is about expanding your mind and learning to do things you didn’t think would be something you’d ever want to do,” said LeBret. “This is one of those classes that helps you do such.”

The curriculum includes assignments such as the “Invisible Dog Project,” where students are given an imaginary leash and must “manipulate the air” to convince their fellow puppeteers that they are actually walking their dog puppet.

“With the Invisible Dog Project, I was trying to communicate the idea of surrealism to my students,” said LeBret. “I wanted to show them that they could easily take a mass-produced, ready-made puppet, manipulate it and use it to communicate, which is why I had them walk around the Quad pretending as though they were holding a leash, and essentially walking their dogs.”

Senior Anna Marsden told the Reveille that she “enjoyed the attention” and that walking an imaginary dog got a “positive reaction” from other students outside of class.

“Smiles are the main reaction I got, and I absolutely ate it up,” said Marsden. “I never responded to the inquisitor as if the dog were imaginary because, well, what fun would that be?”

WATCH: LSU students demonstrate their puppeteering

Marsden advises students thinking of taking puppeteering that “the class is no joke” and said students should be prepared to “have your mind blown.”

“The first few weeks is all giggles, but the class is rigorous and requires a lot—mentally and physically—from each student, so don’t take [the class] if you aren’t prepared to fully commit to it,” said Marsden.

“The real goal here is to make others smile because the world is such a bad place these days, and we do this with our puppets,” said LeBret.

LSU is a public university in Baton Rouge, LA.

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