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Eurofurence 28 — "Cyberpunk"
Sep 18 – 21, 2024
CCH — Congress Center Hamburg


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Author Topic: EF25 Pawpet Show  (Read 6547 times)


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EF25 Pawpet Show
« on: 18.08.2019, 21:33:44 »

So, starting off the post-25 feedback cycle!

This year's Pawpet show was a massively mixed bag for me.

On the one hand side, it was awesome. I had a great time. The characters were quite interesting and the spirit world scenes were just visually stunning. The humour served to break some tension and particularly compared to last year, it seems like the puppeteers were a lot better at staying out of sight. The cussing was somewhat toned down, so the curse words that did appear actually emphasized a point rather than just serving as eccentric punctuation. The plot was dark, but the darkness absolutely served a purpose in the storytelling. I tip my non-existent hat to the crew for pulling this off and pulling this off well.

Which leads me to the bad part. As we learned in the Fur Science panel, furries are a pretty queer bunch - if the data they've collected about furries in general translates to the attendees of EF, about three out of four furries are not straight. They're also often bullied and had to go through a lot of crap in their life before (or after) coming into a fandom that is often used for escapism. And along comes a pawpet show that does a tap dance across pretty much every potentially traumatic topic ever. Drugs and addiction. Suicidal thoughts and actual suicide attempts. Torture. Homophobia and gay conversion therapy. Giant spiders. Child abuse and alcoholism. The whole thing was about one sexual assault away from me standing up and shouting "Bingo!"
Considering the audience, it wasn't really a question whether someone would be affected by this stuff, but how many. When Alice was in the middle of being tortured by Isaiah, I heard chairs clattering behind me and saw someone leaving the hall at a dead run. I do not know if they were maybe just dealing with a bad curry, but I doubt it. From what I've heard, they were not the only one and I saw several other people leave the room after that scene.

Pretty please: If you ever decide to tackle such topics again, do put up a content warning, ideally both in the con book and in the small sheets on the seats. It can be marked as such so people with no lingering trauma can decide to skip it to avoid spoilers (write it upside down so you have to consciously turn the sheet around). The way you currently did it was not okay. The only two things we got beforehand was Cheetah saying something vague about "tough subjects" and the rehab center flyer lying around in the convention as viral marketing where it may or may not have been found.
I've heard that some people said "It's always been 18+" and "It's the Pawpet show, what did you expect?" I am hoping those words did not come from members of the Pawpet show crew, because they betray a lack of empathy that horrifies me. I did not know what to expect. Noone who didn't find the flyer knew what to expect, except possibly some connection of a punk/metal band with religious themes, because that was pretty much everything that the title and poster indicated. I have never gone into a movie or flipped open a book knowing as little about the content as with this show. Every pawpet show of the last years was different, with perhaps the only connecting thread being rebellion against authority. "Juno Rising" was a relatively sweet story about reconciliation and compromise and letting go of preconceived notions. "The Skies of Astar" was about colonialism, industrial greed and warmongering. "Golden Eyes" was about letting go of old anger and learning whom to trust. "Keepers of Light" was about abuse of (religious) power. None of those touched as directly on so many topics as traumatic as Demön HünterZ. And saying that any media that is somehow considered "18+" should be viewed only by those who have no mental hangups whatsoever seems just ridiculous. You don't enjoy torture porn a la Saw? Does that mean black comedy Deadpool and scifi thriller Alien aren't for you either? I don't think so.

In the rpg scene, there is a saying: "Players are more important than games." I hope you agree with it, especially when it comes to such little concessions as content warnings to make sure people do not have to relive their traumas. Yesterday's Pawpet show was awesome for me. It should not have been awful for anyone else.
« Last Edit: 20.08.2019, 19:20:07 by Cifer »


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Re: EF25 Pawpet Show
« Reply #1 on: 22.08.2019, 19:54:12 »

On behalf of the pawpet show team:

We sincerely apologize to those who were upset by our show. It was never our intention to cause discomfort to any member of the audience. We were surprised ourselves by the intensity of the torture scene and can relate to the negative emotions it may have caused for some. Unfortunately, due to the huge workload before the convention and on site, we missed providing the content notice we had planned to give before the show. We'll pay more attention to that in the future.

It is true that the story this year was very dark, especially compared to previous years. We thank our editor for defusing it as far as possible without compromising the plot by adding some humor to the original script, as otherwise a lot more audience (rightfully) would have walked out on us.

As dark as the topics covered are, as close as they hit to home for some of us, the essence of the play is that it is possible to overcome one's inner demons and how powerful friendship can be.

Finally, while it sure is amazing (even to us) how much one can immerse into a story and forget it is a puppet show, we don't see our work as "only puppetry". We wouldn't put so much effort, work, dedication and emotion into the production if that were the case.
Is it that things really change? Or does the outside rearrange?
Is perception genuine? Or does truth lie deep beneath the skin?
— Alexander James Adams, Blood and Passion
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