I got to work with a new group of puppet improvisers in the recent PIP Workshops. Watching these guys pick up and improvise with puppets was delightful. It seems a bit "magic." I remember learning about this "magic" on my trip to Atlanta and the Center for Puppetry arts back in September. Puppets act on our psyche in two ways.
First, they act on our intellect. We understand they are not real, and we suspend our disbelief and see them for what they are -- symbols. And since our brain is already in a mode to see everything in a puppet show as symbolic, it really messes with us when the other punch lands. (Punch! Ha ha!)
Second, they act on our spirituality. The "base" puppets dredge up our own memories, and then they become part of our association with the iconic symbol the puppet represents.