I attended Class 6 Theatre’s production of William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors over President’s Day weekend in which they utilized puppets to play several of the characters. Yep, I said puppets!
An innovative twist
The words Shakespeare and puppets rarely appear together in the same sentence, if indeed the same paragraph, and yet the inclusion of the puppets was an innovative twist on the popular play. Obviously one of the challenges of any production of this play is procuring the sufficient number of identical twins to play those crucial characters and, during the talk-back session with the actors after the play, the director explained how some productions use actors that share similar facial features while others use completely different people as a sight gag. Obviously the use of puppets was an example of risk-taking at its finest; the advertising postcard shows only puppets and doesn’t indicate that human actors round out the additional cast members.
Incorporating puppets into every Shakespeare play would overplay the novelty – a puppet Hamlet’s father’s ghost, for example, would likely dilute the sense of terror that the character brings, and a puppet Romeo romancing a puppet Juliet would dilute those iconic and beloved characters to the level of a Sesame Street skit. A play titled “The Comedy of Errors” is an open invitation.
How this applies in business
Risk-taking is a minefield through which only the cautious should tread, but informed risk-taking is almost like walking through that same minefield with a partial map of where some of the explosives are buried. With informed risk-taking you may not know all of the variables at play but you have done sufficient due diligence to make some value-based decisions and defined your back-out methodology if things suddenly go south. In the case of Class 6 Theatre, incorporating puppets as integral characters of a Shakespeare’s play is a great example of innovative informed risk-taking.