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Creating a monster

Mr. Sterling makes Audrey II a reality for fall musical

Elizabeth Schuth

Feature Editor

October 13, 2022

Feed me - the smallest version of Audrey II is to be used as a hand puppet.

Mr. John Sterling created three puppet versions of Audrey II, a man-eating plant, to be used in the upcoming school musical Little Shop of Horrors.

Using elements from both the movie and Broadway version of Little Shop of Horrors; the puppets range in size from six inches to nearly eight feet wide. The smallest puppet is made of foam and is used as a hand puppet, the medium puppet has a PVC pipe skeleton, and the biggest one uses PVC, chicken wire, foam, and fabric.

“I think the medium one is a good balance of being impressive, without being too limited,” Sterling said. “You can still move around a whole bunch, the big one, once you get into a thing that's 8 feet long, it's hard to move.”

The research was an important aspect of the project comparing both the film and Broadway versions of Audrey II. The final product includes the vibrant color scheme from Broadway with the natural smooth movements from the movie.

“I started with the same process I show my students,” Sterling said. “ You know collected all this inspiration, sketched out how I was gonna create it.”

A few years prior Sterling took on the project of creating a life-size T-rex skull currently at Washington Woods Elementary. He drew inspiration from it in order to create the puppets.

“I did paper mache for the t-rex skull,” he stated, ”but this needs to be something a little more durable because it moves and is functioning … making an object that stays still I have plenty of experience with … but this was a new experience, I’ve never made a puppet before.

The puppets were a long project taking the whole summer and into this school year to complete. The largest one is still under construction.

“I like making things,” Sterling said. “I honestly am not very involved in the theater department but I thought if I can do a paper mache t-rex skull, I could do something possibly useful too and also fun. I just enjoy making and learning how to make.”

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