I have an early memory of going to a marionette show for my cousin’s birthday. It was a theater hidden away, or perhaps it appeared that way because it was difficult for my mother to find. She wasn’t the greatest with direction. I recall the theater looking like a marionette theater would look like. At that time, it had those red drapes with gold tassels. It felt very interactive. We (there were a lot of other children with their parents), all sat on the ground, criss cross applesauce. It was very exciting, I didn’t know what to expect. The lights dimmed down except for the middle center of the theater. The show started.
I was amazed. I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t really understand what marionettes were. Once the show started, I felt a bit startled because I didn’t know how these dolls were moving, but then I loved it! It was a great experience. This theater from my memory is The Bob Baker Marionette Theater. Enter Cain Carias, a puppet master that has worked with Bob Baker and at this theater for 18 years! He shares with us his discovery of puppeteering and how it has influenced him and inspired him to pursue something he never saw himself doing.
“…Just continue doing what you love…ART is [an] amazing way to express your feelings without a word…”
1. What is your cultural background?
I was born and raised in Tijuana, Baja California. I came to Los Angeles When I was 13, I’m 32 now
2. Are you multilingual or bilingual? If so, is there a language you prefer?
My first language is Spanish…I have been in Los Angeles for over 18 years. I have English under my belt now.
3. Do you express yourself in other forms of art other than puppeteering?
Actually I don’t…I’m a really shy guy..I hardly talk or speak to people. I’m always to myself…I used puppetry to express some of the feels [feelings] I don’t feel comfortable transferring. Puppeteering helps me tremendously.
4. How did you discover puppeteering?
I discovered Puppetry in such a random way…It feels sometimes that Puppetry was looking for me….This is how it all started….While I was attending high school, one of my friends that lived in the same building as me acquired the job first and after he asked me this question ‘YOU WANNA WORK IN A THEATRE?” I was thirteen years old, in my mind I thought he said a MOVIE THEATRE…I didn’t know marionettes existed…So I said YES… I went to the theater and saw a show. I WAS BLOWN AWAY ON WHAT I WAS SEEING…After that I met the owner BOB BAKER and the first thing he ever said about me is “Oh my God He’s Tall” in this point in my life I didn’t know one word in English…little did I know my next 18 years of my life would be spent in one place only and that’s THE BOB BAKER MARIONETTES THEATRE…that’s where my journey as a puppeteer began.
5. Tell us about the puppet you created: El Triste. What led to his creation?
@el_triste_213 was created with the help of @msreyesarte she is the creator of G DOLLS… mine is practically a G DOLL with strings…Which makes him a G MARIONETTE…. He was created out of my feelings….I’m always happy, smiling [and] laughing all the time so I wanted to create something the opposite of happiness…Which led to him being a SAD CLOWN.
6. Did you always envision yourself as a puppeteer?
Nope, never. I [never]expected my future to be the way it is…[it] is actually super fun..I feel like I’m living someone’s else’s dream….[and] i’m just living it
I [have] been doing it for 18 years now, [puppeteering].
7. Who has been your biggest supporter and how?
BOB BAKER he’s the reason I’m still following the puppetry world…I was learning everything I could from him..he was truly the PUPPET MASTER..YOU GUYS DEFINITELY HAVE TO CHECK HIS THEATRE OUT!
8. What struggles have you gone through as a puppeteer and how have you tried to overcome them?
MONEY…Money been always an issue with me sadly… Puppeteers don’t win a lot of money…the lil money they get is to go by and invest in your own creations…At the moment I’m struggling financially but that doesn’t stop me from being a puppeteer…Im always bringing el triste out to play whenever there’s an event or party he’s there to enjoy himself…At the moment I’m working as a cook in a restaurant that’s how I overcame my problem….Soon I will come back [as a] full time puppeteer and create and bring other ideas I have under my sleeves.
9. How do you prepare for a performance?
First you have to practice 50 plus hours before you jump on stages…Or ever more…Is not easy [mastering] some of these marionettes, it takes years to be able to master it…Once you know what you [are] doing…Just go out and perform in front of, none less than 200 people everyday…That [is] what I used to do.
10. What do you dream for the future?
[It] is hard to think of the future…I had dreams and I couldn’t accomplish some…But at the moment @el_triste_213 [is] making me dream way bigger than ever possible….El triste is taking me places I didn’t expect to be…Things are looking real good for el triste…And of course myself since I’m the master…You guys will just have to wait and see.
11. What words of encouragement would you give to those who pursue a similar art?
All I gotta say is just continue doing what you love ..ART is [an] amazing way to express your feelings without a word…CREATE ..Find a hobby ..Trust me I [have] been doing this for 18 years and it was a passion I didn’t have [before]…Now look at me “playing with toys”…As some people might call it…But the most important part of all, I AM HAPPY DOING IT.
12. Share with us your most memorable performance.
That’s a super hard Question. I have performed over 1000 times and I have performed in my 18 years of experience in front of 1 million people…..So with that being said [it] is hard to pick a memorable performance…BUT EVERY TIME I PERFORMED IN FRONT OF PEOPLE WHO [have] NEVER SEEN A MARIONETTE SHOW…IS ALWAYS THE BEST EXPERIENCE YOU BOTH COULD HAVE…THEM WATCHING YOU DOING SOMETHING SO SIMPLE YET AMAZING AND FULL OF LIFE. IN MY PART I LOVE SHOWING OFF…SOME OF THESE MARIONETTES I MANIPULATED, AT THE WORLD FAMOUS BOB BAKER MARIONETTES THEATRE [THEY] ARE MAGICAL.
Cain graciously shared with us his journey as a puppeteer. Check out his instagram page @el_triste_213, to see more of his work, also visit @BOBBAKERMARIONETTES to learn about where Cain started his journey!
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