Sebastiano Ricci—and some unusual classmates— create a unique academic major.
At Adelphi, you might get a chance to meet Brooklyn bad boy Gino Vino, the hyper Fad and the optimistic Joey Pepper. You can’t miss them. They’re made of foam and fleece with cotton-ball eyes, and Kevin is a big red monster with horns.
They all spring from the imagination of junior Sebastiano Ricci. That’s not all Ricci’s imagined; he created his own unique major in puppetry.
His interest in puppetry started early. He was drawn to children’s programs like Barney & Friends and Sesame Street, but what fascinated him most was how iconic puppets like Elmo and Big Bird were brought to life. “I watched a lot of kids’ television, and I was always fascinated by how it worked,” Ricci said. “I wanted to know how these characters were talking and how they were moving. I knew that they weren’t real, but I wanted to know the mechanics behind it.”
Ricci has been performing on his YouTube channel for the past seven years while taking workshops in New York City, including a voice class run by the Brooklyn Puppet Conspiracy and at Puppet Kitchen International Inc., where he learns the ins and outs of monitor work and how to manipulate his voice to create the perfect character.
A Program to Build a Dream On
When the former communications major found out he could create his own major in interdisciplinary studies, Ricci thought it was “a fantastic opportunity for me to finally follow my dream of becoming a professional puppeteer,'” he said. “I talked to my adviser, John Drew, and he was totally down for the idea.”
Starting in the fall of 2018, Ricci will take classes of his own design within the communications department, the art department and the Department of Theatre. Classes will consist of filmmaking and monitor work for working with puppets, puppet building and sculpture, and acting, with an emphasis on voice.
“I wasn’t sure if I definitely wanted to do it, because it’s a very niche field,” Ricci explained, “but I decided I’m going to go for it, and everyone in the communications department has had my back. They think it’s a fantastic idea.”
Ricci’s on track to make his dream a reality. He’s received considerable media attention—he made the cover of Newsday‘s Sunday LI Life section and was featured by News 12, Fox 5 and Fios1. So stay tuned!
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