When Ricky Syers didn’t find a lifetime of manual labor satisfying enough, he found his satisfaction in puppeteering. He used to play music in Washington Square Park of New York City, USA and brought a marionette with him for fun. However, he realized that people were more interested in the marionette than watching him play the drums. This motivated him to turn his focus on puppeteering.
It was during Ricky’s performances in New York City’s Washington Square Park that he met Doris, an 86-year-old former journalist, and longtime community activist. She used to frequent this park to interact with anyone and everyone she met. Their meeting happened right in the first week when Ricky was showcasing his puppeteering prowess in the park.
Doris showed interest in Ricky’s puppets and also impressed him by her outgoing nature. A special friendship developed between the two and she shared her old reviews she wrote as an art critic about famous marionette makers, such as Bil Baird. Her interest in puppets deeply influenced Ricky and he decided to make Little Doris, a marionette in her likeness.
For this, Ricky had to cancel making Psy marionette that could do Gangnam style and opt for this granny, who could do this. He states in vimeo.com, “What’s better than a granny who can dance!” The fame came to the duo when filmmaker David Friedman made a documentary on them, tracing their friendship and how they first met.
Ricky, a resident of Dunellen, New Jersey, USA, is not only a puppeteer but also a street performer, musician, and artist. He’s an expert at making marionettes and has made them of the people he meets in New York City, such as Larry, the bird guy, Doris, and other Park regulars.
To create the spitting image of Doris, Ricky took around 50 hours over a few days. The impressive doppelganger that he created now entertains and delights onlookers of all ages at the Washington Square Park. For this, he travels all the way from Dunellen to New York City’s Washington Square Park by train.
Today, the two marionettes are a common sight in the neighborhood and also frequently appear together in interviews and photographs. They’re not only the talk of the town but have catapulted Ricky to fame. His puppets reflect on the relationship between humans and inanimate. He certainly makes them come alive in the form of real people.