Lunch and Learn
Punch and Judy
Tradition, Popular Culture and Puppetry
Please join us for a virtual discussion by Dr. Jungmin Song on the history of Punch and Judy, the comical British hand puppet tradition, featuring the trickster character Punch and his wife Judy that was also exceedingly popular in the United States in the nineteenth century. Punch and Judy plays are episodic, with Punch interacting with his wife Judy and their baby, and opposing various figures of authority and characters drawn from other entertainment genres.In this lunchtime talk, Dr. Song will highlight the controversial nature of Punch and Judy.
Although Punch and Judy has been loved by the public over the centuries, it carries elements from the past no longer considered acceptable to most current audiences, such as misogyny, domestic violence, capital punishment, and racism. Many Punch and Judy performers endeavor to rework the tradition so that it reflects contemporary concerns and issues without losing its core anarchic spirit.
About the Speaker
Dr.Jungmin Song is Assistant Professor in Residence at the Department of Dramatic Arts and research associate at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut. She curated the exhibitions Shakespeare and Puppetry (2020) and Puppetry’s Racial Reckoning (2021) at the Ballard. Korean-born, she lived, studied, and worked in London, England for nearly 20 years before she started working at UConn in 2019.
This virtual event is free and open to the public.
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Image: Rod Burnett’s Punch and Judy, May Fayre, Covent Garden, London, May 10, 2015. Photograph by Jungmin Song