John Cody

Day in the Life: Puppet Arts Major John Cody and the Art of Trickery

The Daily Campus

The Puppet Arts Program is one of the University of Connecticut’s rare treasures. The women’s basketball team consistently makes headlines, but the distance UConn conquers basketball is peanuts to how far it dominates puppetry. Fifth-semester puppet arts major John Cody, whose previous work has included an eight-foot-tall Captain Condom mascot, explains his passion for the art form:

Cody has previously done work “wrangling mascots” for DreamWorks’ “Penguins of Madagascar” at Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Zoo. The job’s duties, Cody said, included “helping the actors put on the costumes, making sure they don’t break, repairing them if they do break, and making sure kids don’t punch them.”

“What’s fun about mascots is they have this element of fantasy to reality,” Cody added. “It’s this totally bizarre thing: a giant penguin who can’t move his face or talk just in the middle of the Bronx Zoo.”

UConn’s Student Health Services approached Cody and puppet arts graduate student Anatar Marmol-Gagne to assemble their “Stall Street News” character Captain Condom. Cody designed a maquette (a miniature model) and then built the full-size mascot while learning along the way.