Sylvia Fletcher's "Ventastic!"
Sylvia performs with the world's only flying drone puppet! It has to be seen to be believed!
Blame it on Sesame Street. Oh, and Paul Winchell, too. He played a part in this as well. If not for the considerable influence of this famous , ventriloquist and voice actor, Sylvia Markson ( Markson a STAGE name.) would probably not have asked for a puppet of her very own, would not have practiced the art of ventriloquism for hours on end, and would probably not have become a talented puppet master. This would have been an enormous loss to the Thousands of families, who have enjoyed her unique and fun-filled show today.
Sylvia, who makes her home in the Albany region, tours throughout the Eastern area with the Magic Trunk, a well traveled box inhabited by a delightful bunch of quick-witted puppets that she magically brings to life through ventriloquism. Whether she stops at Schools, Fairs, Corporate shows or others venues, the young and young at heart are treated to a show where, they can believe that a puppet can truly talk.
To hear her tell it, Sylvia's path into ventriloquism and entertaining was quite normal. Growing up in Los Angeles, California with Sesame Street, Shari Lewis and the great ventriloquist Paul Winchell, she developed a love for puppets. At the age of five, she asked her parents for "Willie Talk", her first vent figure (her preferred name for dummy in these politically correct times).
Willie came with a book on how to become a ventriloquist, and she studied the lessons in that book, practicing every day to become as proficient as possible.
"Its the only way you can do it," she insisted. "I read a lot. I practiced, and thats how I learned it."
Before too long, she was performing for her family and at talent shows, which soon led to "Leon", a semi-professional vent figure. Backed by her friends Willie and Leon, Sylvia began to accumulate some of her lifes little victories. In fifth grade, for instance, she entered a talent contest at school and won. A few years later, in her freshman year of high school, she ran for Freshman President. With Leon as her campaign manager , they went up in front of the school, gave speech, and captured the position with ease.
When Sylvia was 17 years old, her father bought her Sonny, her first professional vent figure. In many respects, her father set her on the path she travels today by being so supportive of her talents. She recalled how he would, unbeknownst to her, put her vent figures in the trunk of the family car. When she would say said she couldnt perform because she didnt have her characters, he would produce them from the trunk of the car. She says they laugh about his antics today, and recognize his support in her career development. She continued to pursue her interest as a ventriloquist while pursuing a career in the Business world. Eventually her love of ventriloquism brought her back to performing.
Sylvia has now been performing professionally for about 15 years , bringing her act to schools, corporations, county fairs, and other venues .
Recently, she has more or less retired her traditional vent figures, choosing instead to entertain with a variety of professional puppets. Her cast of characters includes Chito, a wise cracking Latino opossum, an outrageous Southern bird who loves to steal the show , a Genie who lives in a bottle , a talking picture and many more surprises.
She said she has no particular favorite puppet, she loves them all because they are all so different and original. While she pieces all of her characters together taking elements from her own life, whether its her Hispanic heritage or the characteristics of her Southern relatives or her own experiences in Corporate America , she is careful to ensure that all of her characters are unique unto themselves.