5 Questions: Joshua Holden
5 Questions is a series by Steve Duffy –
The Joshua Show made its debut as a 10-minute slam piece at the Nasty Brutish and Short Puppet Cabaret on March 5, 2012. It then developed into a full-length performance for 2013 Puppeteers of America’s National Festival where it was awarded “Best Performance” and voted “Fan Favorite.”
SD: What is the Joshua show about?
JH: It’s a show that teaches empathy, the importance of being true to who you are, and also recognizing the things that make us different are the things that make us awesome.
SD: What is your favorite thing about working with puppets?
JH: There are two things: The first thing that I would say is that it is an amazing tool for my active imagination because anything can be brought to life using puppets. So, any ideas that I have there is nothing that is too lofty. They help in telling simple and beautiful stories. Secondly, I love how it engages both kids and adults when done well. When I see an adult sitting on the edge of their seat, that gets me really excited.
SD: How has performing on the Broadway national tour of AVENUE Q, influenced your show?
JH: Avenue Q was my first big job. It certainly opened a lot of doors for me professionally. I current still work at Avenue Q off Broadway I am the puppet wrangler and wardrobe supervisor. What I learned from them was the fact that you put on a puppet doesn’t mean that you have to be some outlandish personification of something. The more truth and heart that you can bring into the puppetry, the more you are going to connect with an audience.
SD: Tell us about your favorite puppet and why?
JH: I got to say Mr. Nicholas, who is my puppet, my right-hand man. I love Mr. Nicholas because he is so vulnerable, and I have learned over the last 6 years that the audience is really connecting with him in a very deep and emotional way. It gets me so excited and allows me to be optimistic and allows me to fill a theatre or space with my ideas of hope for this perfect world that we get to live in. We have this nice Ying Yang that just as soon as I get too sweet, he brings you right back to reality.
SD: Puppetry continues to be a timeless and magical experience for all ages. Why do you think that is?
JH: It is like seeing a good magician. You know it’s not real. When you see a puppet come to life, you know it’s not real, but it’s so easy to suspend your disbelief. They are real practical devices that we can use for storytelling that I think that we have come away from because of CGI and animation. They are just delightful. They just make you feel great.