TODAY Newspaper Interviews Frankie


Let your fingers do the acting

By Mayo Martin, TODAY | Posted: 12 February 2009 1157 hrs

SINGAPORE – If there was one puppet that Frankie Malachi wishes he had created, it’s Kermit the Frog. 

“It’s so simple, but he’s a household name all over the world,” said the 45-year-old veteran puppeteer. 

Jim Henson’s green amphibious friend may have captured the world’s imagination, but in Singapore’s theatre scene, it’s dibs for Malachi’s army of puppets: from “The Little Shop of Horrors’” huge venus flytrap Audrey II, to puppets for children’s shows staged by Singapore Repertory Theatre and I Theatre, to even a mini-beng marionette at last year’s “Broadway Beng 3”. 

Malachi’s latest creations will be hamming it up at this year’s instalment of Jonathan Lim’s long-running “Chestnuts” spoof show, “Dark Knuts: Welcome To Avenue Quantum”. 

He has created around nine puppets in gag segments of “Avenue Q” and “Wall•E”. 

Considered a pioneer in the puppetry business inSingapore, he tips his hat off to the likes of Henson and Frank Oz, and has even studied under marionette artist Phillip Huber (whose work you’ll have seen in “Being John Malkovich”). 

After 10 years, his company Mascots and Puppets Specialist has close to 200 hand puppets and a hundred more marionettes. 

He also has plans to hit the stage either this year or the next. Tentatively titled “The Whimsical”, Malachi said it’ll include various types of puppets, from small, cutesy ones to the really big ones – and maybe some animatronic types. 

He’s also in talks to do a children’s talk show for TV, which will be dealing with Asian folk tales. 

“A lot of Asian folk tales have been either lost or young people don’t know them. They’re more into ‘Transformers’ or ‘Pokemon’,” he said. 

Now, what would Kermit think of that?