Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jim Henson on Making Puppets!

In honor of our theme "Let's make a puppet together!" here's a fantastic video from 1969 where Jim Henson shares a little bit about making simple puppets.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Adult Puppetry, Blair Thomas, and Handmade Puppet Dreams

This past weekend I saw Blair Thomas perform his solo 3-part puppet piece "Hard Headed Heart" at the Charlestown Working Theater. Blair performed preliminary excerpts from this show at PST many years ago, and now he is touring the full-length version through New England. He stopped in Boston at CWT en route to the Puppets in the Green Mountains International Festival in Vermont, a magnificent week-long event featuring world-renowned performers (he'll be joined by PST favorites Bonnie and Jamie of Crabgrass Puppets who will perform at festival events).
Blair spoke eloquently to the Boston Globe about the significance of puppetry for adults:
It’s a logical thing that puppetry is associated with children, because there’s so much a sense of play in puppetry. But there’s also this thing about puppetry, that it requires a different kind of contract than the actors theater does: where the puppet figure asks you to believe in it, and it’s clearly an inanimate object. Children will readily believe. But the same issue goes on in puppet theater for adult audiences. There’s a level of belief that is requested of the audience members when the puppet makes its entrance.

I loved Blair's show, and was incredibly impressed by how he wove together live musical performance, soliloquy, and puppet design to achieve his impact. I was reminded that puppetry, while demanding of technical precision, is at its heart a wildly expressive art form. As Blair pounded 3 musical instruments with his feet while simultaneously performing the story of Don Cristobal with hand puppets, I was deeply moved by being in the presence of a performer who had much to say and who was brave enough to say it all at once.

We at PST are excited about our own adult offerings this year. This season, we are expanding our adult slams so they take place every other month starting in September and continue through July. On Saturday September 25th at 8:00 pm we will kick off our Slam season with a screening of the adult puppet film series "Handmade Puppet Dreams vol. 1," produced by Heather Henson. The show will be preceded at 6:00 pm by a video puppetry workshop led by Puppet Showplace Slam emcee Jonathan Little, who has studied with some of television's greatest puppeteers. Buy Handmade Puppet Dreams Screening Tickets and Reserve a Video Puppetry Workshop Space Here.

Check out Jon's preview video here.

If you have other ideas for adult programming this year, please let me know. Stay tuned for more information about adult puppetry events at PST and upcoming performances by world-class puppet artists in the Boston area!

Artistic Director

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Meet the Puppets on Display @ PST

Did you know that the Puppet Showplace Theatre is home to the hand-made puppets of some of the area's best-loved puppeteers? It's true! Next time you're at the theatre, look up – they're all around you, displayed up above the Puppet Store in our lobby.

Here are just some of the puppets you're bound to find.

Hummingbird created by Eric Bornstein (puppet in the background created by Paul Vincent Davis)

Betsy and other Cranberry Puppets created by Puppet Showplace Theatre founder Mary Churchill

Rob Roy created by Paul Vincent Davis

Lion created by Puppet Showplace Theatre founder Mary Churchill, shown with a friend of the Showplace, Jim Henson