Continuing my trip to the Smithsonian I came across the work of Basil Milovsoroff. I didn’t know anything about Basil, so when I got home I searched the internet and was actually surprised I hadn’t heard of him until now. Here is the Wikipedia’s “historic” findings 🙂
Basil Milovsoroff (1906-1992) was an accomplished Russian-American puppeteer. He was born in Siberia, close to the Mongolian border and emigrated to the United States when he was very young. He received a BS and Masters degrees from the Oberlin College, and in 1957 he joined the Department of Russian Studies at Dartmouth College.
In 1931 he married Georgia Taylor and together started The Folktale Puppet Theatre. He was widely recognized as one of the best puppeteers in the United States, and in 1983 he received the President’s Award of the Puppeteers of America (a year before Frank Oz received it) https://www.puppeteers.org/awardshistory.html
His puppets can be best described as surrealist compositions of pieces of wood that preserved their original shapes, with their voices having a resemblance to the sounds of the forest.
I have looked everywhere for a recorded performance of Basil’s work but unfortunately cannot find anything 🙁
Correction: The Puppeteers of America sell a video found HERE– perhaps i’ll just have to purchase a copy :-))