Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Magic of Hans Christian Andersen coming to PST


The Emperor, Thumbelisa, and The Ugly Duckling
The Second Annual FALL FAIRYTALE FESTIVAL continues with...

The Magic of Hans Christian Andersen
by Applause Unlimited 

Fri Oct 5 | 10:30am & 3:00pm
Sat Oct 6, Sun Oct 7 | 1:00pm & 3:00pm

All hans on deck for a celebration of Hans Christian Andersen! Whether dealing with ducklings, a (very) little lass, or an emperor's wardrobe malfunction, the Danish fairytale author could find meaning and morals in everything. Check it out this week at PST.

About the show: Applause Unlimited celebrates one of the 20th century’s greatest storytellers - Hans Christian Andersen - with this magnificent UNIMA award winning show. Sometimes serious and heartwarming, sometimes downright silly, but always fun, the show features storytelling and song as well as multiple styles of puppets in three of Andersen’s best loved tales: “The Ugly Duckling,” “Thumbelisa,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
Hand puppets, rod puppets, and marionettes, recommended ages 4 & up

About the performer: Applause Unlimited offers a wide range of performances featuring fresh presentations of classic tales.  Their approach includes masks, storytelling, music, and comedy in a unique combination that quietly educates as it entertains.  Applause Unlimited has performed at festivals and in theaters worldwide.  Their shows have been acclaimed by audiences, educators, producers, and sponsors of children's and family entertainment - receiving two Citations Of Excellence from the Union Internionale de la Marionette.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Behind the Scenes at PST: The Frog Prince

Pumpernickel Puppets: No, They're Not Edible

Welcome back, readers.  It's me, Esra Erol - marketing intern at PST - and I'm here to take you on another "behind-the-scenes" adventure.  This time, it's all about The Frog Prince, which is due back at PST this week.  But first!  Allow me to introduce you to the man behind the Pumpernickel Puppets: John McDonough.
John and his MJ Puppet

John, Then...

John's story begins when he was just a wee lad.  That's right.  He was only four-years-old when he saw his first puppet show and thought, "Hmm...I think I want to be a puppeteer."  You know what?  Scratch that.  John didn't think he wanted to be a puppeteer.  John knew - he was absolutely certain - that he wanted to be a puppeteer.  Seriously.  He was on a mission.  By his teens, John was performing a large number of puppet shows throughout the New England area, including here in Brookline, specifically on the stage of our very own PST, which John might as well call "home" since he's been here so many times - much to our delight!

...And Now

Over thirty-seven years later, John is still entertaining audiences with his beautifully crafted puppet pals.  They've appeared here in Boston at The Boston Children's Museum as well many out-of-state institutions, including: The Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, CT, The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., The Cultural Olympiad at The Center For Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, GA, and the prestigious International Festival of Puppet Theatre sponsored by the Jim Henson Foundation at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre in New York.

The Man Behind the Frog

This week, we're very luck to have John back at PST to perform his rendition of The Frog Prince. Excuse me. I should have said, "His beautiful rendition of The Frog Prince." Why beautiful? Well, John is known for crafting some of the most intricate puppets in the business. They're just breathtaking! Don't believe me? Take a look:
For each production, John designs and creates all of his puppets, which range in size.  Some of 'em are small hand puppets while others are life-size figures - sometimes bigger!  

He also manipulates the entire cast and provides the voices and sound effects as well.  He even has his very own portable stage, which can be set up in any indoor location and comes complete with sound and lighting. All that he needs is a 7x7 ft. square space with a 7'2" floor to ceiling clearance and a regular electrical outlet nearby.

Now, if you haven't seen John and his mechanics at work (and you're dying to know what it's like to see his work come to life), do not fear because we've got a pictorial history of some of the performances he's done over the last few (and most recent) years, including: The Lion and the Mouse and Three Billy Goats Gruff in 2010, and then Peter Rabbit and Sir George and the Dragon the following year - all of were met with great success.
Yes, John's puppet pals are sure to "wow" audiences of all ages, especially this week with The Frog Prince (BUY TICKETS).  We insist you come on down to PST and watch the beautiful Princess kiss the slimy Frog.  We promise, he'll turn into a handsome Prince soon enough!

'Till next time!  Yours truly, Esra Erol - marketing intern.

Monday, September 24, 2012

PST to Host Traditional Story Slams

Traditional Story Slams for Teens and Adults

Have a favorite folk or fairytale you like to tell your kids? A soft spot for heros, evil kings, and talking animals? Want to dabble in the world of parables and fables? You're invited to participate in PST/massmouth, inc.'s monthly Traditional Story Slam. Each event, which will take place from 7-9pm at Puppet Showplace Theatre in Brookline, will feature seven story slammers and one featured storyteller. 

Slam guidelines include:
  • 7-minute story limit
  • content must be fictional and based in some tradition and the evening's theme.
  • content cannot be from a literary work must be teller’s own words
  • tellers may use props, costumes, and/or music
  • tellers cannot use notes
Prizes for top storytellers (chosen by the audience) include a bag of magic beans, a magic wishing stone, and a small bale of hay. Additional prizes maybe added.

Traditional Story Slam Dates!
2012: Oct 18, Nov 15, Dec 20 from 7-9pm
2013: Jan 17, Feb 14, Mar 14 from 7-9pm

Tickets will be $8 online and $10 at the door.  

Story Slams

massmouth storyteller
The primary way in which massmouth promotes storytelling is through story slams. Similar to a poetry slam, a story slam is a competition based on the art of storytelling. At each event, interested slammers will submit their names to participate and the chosen few (the lucky eight to ten chosen at random from a box) get to tell their stories. Each participant will deliver a five-minute story (based on the event’s chosen theme), which will be scored by volunteer judges. The judges’ base their scores on presentation, structure, exploration of and connection to the slam’s theme, and time limit. 
Additionally, the story must be an original, real-life adventure with a beginning, middle, and end. The two highest-scoring tellers are awarded prizes and an opportunity to perform at the “the big mouthoff”

Through the 2012-2013 season, massmouth, inc. will offer three to four story slams a month at venues across the Greater Boston area. Upcoming story slams include themes such as “night owl,” “foodie,” and “betrayal.” The organization’s next event will take place on Saturday, September 29, from 3pm-6pm at the Rosebud Bar and Grill in Somerville, Mass. The event’s theme is “labels.”

For more information about massmouth, inc., check out their website.

Traditional Storytelling

Where the massmouth/Puppet Showplace Theatre collaboration differs from usual story slams is the emphasis on traditional storytelling. Where massmouth events typically require stories to be first-person narrative based on lived experience, traditional stories must be based in fiction and borrowed from a traditional source.

These adults-only events are geared towards restoring the rawness and roughness and eliminating the “knee-slapping and feel good endings” of watered-down folk and fairytales. Contrary to fairytales of the Disney era, these stories should not provide tidy moral lessons.

Similarly, massmouth, inc. founder Norah Dooley warns participants to be wary of the term “adult.” According to Dooley, “‘adult’ [does] not mean simply tacking on promiscuity, gender issues and substance abuse one has created an "adult" tale… an adult tale is one that is complex, deep, and resonating enough to entertain and challenge even the most jaded grown up.”

For more information on traditional storytelling, check out Norah Dooley’s blog post on the subject.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Frog Prince is Hoppin' On Over to PST


The 2nd Annual

The Frog Prince
by Pumpernickel Puppets
Sat & Sun | Sep 29 & 30 | 1 PM and 3 PM

About the ShowYoung Prince Tad has been caught teasing the forest creatures...again! As punishment, a Magic Tree turns him into a frog, hoping to teach him a lesson. Along the way, Tad meets a Princess who could turn him back with - brace yourselves - a kiss. Yuck! Will she do it? All ends happily as the characters learn about being kind and keeping promises.
Hand puppets, recommended for ages 3 & up

About the Performer: The Pumpernickel Puppets are the creation of John McDonough of Worcester, Massachusetts. He was four years old when he saw his first puppet show and he knew immediately that he wanted to be a puppeteer. By his teens, John was presenting shows all over the New England area. 

The Pumpernickel Puppets have had the honor of appearing at the Boston Children’s Museum, the Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., the Cultural Olympiad at the Center For Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia, and the prestigious International Festival of Puppet Theatre - sponsored by the Jim Henson Foundation - at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre in New York.

Friday, September 21, 2012

After-school Activities: PST's After-school Show Series Returns

PST announces Fall 2012  After-school Show Line-up

Starting Friday, October 5, Puppet Showplace Theatre is bringing back its after-school show time series for youth and family audiences. For the remainder of the Fall 2012 season, PST will present a 3:00pm show the first Friday of every month (October 5, November 2, and December 7).

Behind-the-scenes Access:

Ever wonder what goes into a puppet show? Well, you're in luck! Each performance will include a post-show behind-the-scenes puppet demonstration and a Q&A session with the puppeteer. According to Brad Shur, Artist-in-Residence at PST, “These performances are a great opportunity for kids to meet with artists, ask questions, and see how a professional puppet show works!”

Puppet-making Activity:

Following each performance, audience members are also invited to enjoy a FREE puppet making activity. All the materials will be provided by PST, and every child can make their own puppet to take home.

Tickets cost $12 General/$8 PST members/$8.50 for groups of 20 or more.

2012 Fall After-school Puppet Show Season Line-up:

The Magic of Hans Christian Andersen by Applause Unlimited – PST Premier!
October 5 at 3pm

Applause Unlimited celebrates one of the 20th century’s greatest storytellers - Hans Christian Andersen - with this magnificent UNIMA award-winning show. Sometimes serious and heartwarming, sometimes downright silly, but always fun, the show features storytelling and song as well as multiple styles of puppets in three of Andersen’s best loved tales: “The Ugly Duckling,” “Thumbelisa,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Recommended for ages 4 & up.

Raccoon Tales by Paul Vincent Davis, performed by Brad Shur, PST Artist-in-Residence.
November 2 at 3pm

The animals in the forest are always getting into trouble playing tricks on each other. Will they learn their lessons? Three humorous tales, inspired by just-so-stories of the Seneca tribe, combine in this delightful show: How the Fox and the Raccoon Trick Each Other; Why the Blue Jay is Blue and the Gray Wolf Isn’t; and, Why the Bear has a Stumpy Tail. Hand puppets. Recommended for ages 4 & up

Tales of Beatrix Potter by Applause Unlimited – PST Premier!
December 7 at 3pm

A solo puppeteer/storyteller explores the fantasy world of one of Victorian England's best-known authors and illustrators. Set in an old-fashioned nursery, this performance includes three favorite Beatrix Potter stories as seen through the eyes of a young English girl growing up at the beginning of the twentieth century. As she pursues the everyday activities of playing and learning, the tales of "Two Bad Mice", "Jeremy Fisher", and "Jemima Puddleduck" seem to grow from her imagination. Hand, Rod, and Shadow puppets. Recommended for ages 4 & up.

Tickets Coming Soon! 

From the PST Vault: Mary Churchill's "Three Little Pigs"

"The Three Little Pigs" by PST's Founder:

While getting ready for our upcoming performance of "The Three Little Pigs" by WonderSpark Puppets this weekend, I rememberd a conversation I had with Paul Vincent Davis, our Artist-In-Residence Emeritis about Mary Churchill's production of the same story. I was inspired to search deep into our old photos, and found three delightful images of Mary's beautiful show! Enjoy!

-Brenda Huggins, Communications Director

About Mary:

The Puppet Showplace Theatre (PST) was founded in June 1974 by visionary educator and puppeteer Mary Churchill. Mary saw puppetry as a powerful medium for teaching children, stimulating their creativity, and introducing them to the experience of live theatre.

One of the many shows she performed at PST was the story of the three little pigs! For almost 20 years, Mary performed this show with hand made puppets created in her signature, croche design. Families would enjoy a puppet show bill that included this story with two others; sometimes "Little Red-Riding Hood", or Aesop's tale of "The Lion and the Mouse."

Mary's Three Little Pigs:

In Mary's telling of this classic tale, there were not just three pigs in the story; the famous trio was joined by their mother. Four pigs! Mother pig had two sons, and one daughter. It was important to Mary, when adapting classic stories, to paint a picture of female characters in a stronger light, where they could have control over their own lives, and were not at the mercy of an evil witch, or married-off to a prince who she knew for about 2 hours.

 Mary's "Three Little Pigs" is a perfect example of this feminist twist to a classic tale, where the pig who build's a brick house is a girl pig, studying to become a dentist! How fun, and what a great message to little girls in the audience!

At the end of the show, the girl, soon-to-be-dentist-pig defeats the Wolf by pulling out his teeth! A famous line of the show spoken by the wolf: "That's O.K., they were just my baby teeth, and another set will grow in."

Mary's visionary work continues to inspire the staff and artists at PST, and we are so happy to share these beautiful images of her work from our archive!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Three Little Pigs Take Over the Net!

Newsflash, Readers!  The Three Little Pigs have taken over the Net.  I repeat: The Three Little Pigs have taken over the net...but that's totally ok because they're cute and cuddly, so no need to be alarmed.  I just thought you should know, what with WonderSpark Puppets returning to PST this week with their rendition of the classic tale.

Yes, in celebration of their return - both WonderSpark Puppets and The Three Little Pigs - I thought it would be best to do a countdown of some of the best Pig-related videos on the Internet, courtesy of Sesame Street, Jim Henson, and his Muppets.

5. Kermit Reports On The Three Little Pigs...and Count Ruins It

Poor Kermit.  All he wants to do is interview the Three Little Pigs, but he can't because Count keeps, you know, counting 'em.  That's right.  Every time a Little Pig appears, Count shouts "ONE Little Pig," "TWO Little Pigs," and then "THREE Little Pigs," making it very difficult for Kermit to ask them any questions regarding their encounter with the Big Bad Wolf.  Fed up with all the hullabaloo, the Pigs shut the door - and Kermit walks away without a story...or so you think!  

Just next door are the Seven Dwarves.  Oh, but wait.  That's not good.  Seven Dwarves means seven more things for the Count to, you know, count!  Get ready, Kermit.  The cycle's doomed to repeat itself.  

4. Kermit Reports On Two Homeless Piggies

After an unwanted visit from the Big Bad Wolf, two Pigs are left homeless.  

At the first scene of the crime - a big pile of straw - Kermit asks the first Pig what it's like to be homeless.  His response: "What kind of dumb question is that?!  I'm angry!  How would you feel if some big Wolf came along and huffed and puffed and blew your house down?!"

At the second scene of the crime - a big pile of sticks - Kermit asks the second, teary-eyed Pig the same question.  His response: "How do I feel?  How can you be so cruel as to ask me that?  My house is in rubble and you ask me that?  I'm sad!"

At the third scene of the crime - oh, wait!  There is none because it's made of brick.  Knowing this, Kermit asks the third Pig, who stands in front of his brick palace, trying to figure out where his satellite dish should go, what it's like to have a house that's "nice and solid and strong."  His response: "Proud."  Sure, he may seem vain, but when the other two Pigs come a-runnin', he takes them in and protects them from the Big Bad Wolf's big, bad breath.  Kermit, however, is not so lucky because the Wolf huffs and puffs and blows him away.

3. Kermit Reports on the NEW Three Little Pigs Story

That's right.  There's a new Three Little Pigs story, courtesy of the Big Bad Wolf, who's invited Kermit and his news team to capture it on video.

The story begins with the Wolf asking the Three Little Pigs to join him outside.  The Pigs refuse because in the old story, he huffed and puffed and blew their houses down.  The Wolf promises that he won't do that again, so the Pigs decide to give him a chance.  They go outside, where the Wolf begins the new story so: "Once upon a time, there were Three Little Pigs and a Frog Reporter.  When the Wolf saw them standing there, he took a deep breath and..." - Kermit and the Pigs jump - "sang a song!" 

This song turns out to be a game.  The Wolf sings, "Three of things belong together.  Three of these things are kinda the same.  One of these things just doesn't belong here.  Now it's time to play a game!"

Guess how the game ends.  Kermit, a frog, does not belong with the Three Little Pigs, so the Wolf huffs and puffs and blows him away and he and the Three Little Pigs live happily ever after.  As the Pigs rejoice, Kermit pops out of his coat and says, "I think I like the old story better."

2. Kermit Reports On the First Pig

Kermit interviews the first Pig, the one with the house made of straw.  When he asks, "Why straw," the Pig responds so: "Because straw is light and easy to carry - and when we get hungry, we can nibble on a wall or two."  Kermit suggests it would have been wiser to build a house made of wood or bricks, in case a Big Bad Wolf comes along and huffs and puffs and blows it down.  The Pig laughs this off, saying he worked on the house for four days and is, therefore, strong, then returns inside.

Moments later, the Big Bad Wolf arrives and Kermit - who thinks he knows the story of The Three Little Pigs - stands to the side and watches as he huffs and puffs and blows everything down...except the Pig's house.  Boy!  You may think you know the story, but then something like this happens.  It may not make sense, especially to Kermit, but that's what makes it funny.  

1. A New Way To Walk

Welcome to Mac TV!  Today's music video features kickin' music and pork bellies.  It's called "A New Way To Walk" and it features the talented Oinker Sisters.

Yes, this video - an obvious homage to Madonna, (specifically Madonna from the 80's) - is just delightful.  And it certainly puts a new twist on the story of The Three Little Pigs.  In the version we grew up with, they're running scared from the Big Bad Wolf.  Here, they're singing and dancing - and giving "Girl Power" a whole new meaning. 

I don't know about you, but this is definitely worthy of the number one spot.  It's got everything you could ever want from a Sesame Street music video: Madonna-esque dancing pigs and an 80's pop song - guaranteed to put a smile on your faces.

Feel like you need more Pig-related fun in your life?  Then come on down to PST this Saturday (or Sunday) to see WonderSpark Puppets perform their version of The Three Little Pigs.

'Til next time.  Yours truly, Esra Erol - marketing intern.

PS: Tell us what some of your favorite pig videos are!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Organizations Unite to Promote Storytelling

Puppet Showplace Theatre to collaborate with storytelling 
nonprofit massmouth, inc.

This 2012-2013 season Puppet Showplace Theatre will be teaming up massmouth, inc., a nonprofit organization focused on promoting storytelling in the 21st century, for a new partnership to promote traditional storytelling in Boston. The non-profit organizations are set to collaborate on all-ages, family storytelling performance-and-workshops with massmouth, inc.'s Norah Dooley as well as adults-only Folk and Fairytale slams.

Storytelling Workshop Series Dates

How to Tell a Great Fairytale,” Oct 8 from 3-5pm - Experience the magic of a well-told traditional tale, then learn how storytellers can make fantastical characters and settings come to life using the power of words and imagination. Bring a favorite fairytale, or use one from our collections! Register Here

Family Stories,” Dec 2 from 3-5pm - Heirlooms, attic boxes, old photo albums...Is your house filled with the beginnings of great stories? Just in time for the holidays, learn how to turn mementos and memories into compelling tales that can be shared with friends and family. Bring a photo or any object that reminds you of a person or event in your life or family history. Or simply bring a memory that you think would make a good story. Register Here

Single registrant: $25/person ($20 PST members)
Family pricing: $25/ first participant, $15 additional ($20/$10 for PST members).
Children under 13 must participate with an adult.

massmouth, inc.

Founded in August, 2008 by Norah Dooley, Andrea Lovett and Doria Hughes, massmouth, inc. is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit committed to promoting the timeless art of storytelling in the 21st century through digital and social media, education and live performance. massmouth aims to reinvigorate storytelling in Massachusetts and restore it to its rightful place as a recognized art form.  Additionally, the organization hopes to improve storytelling’s accessibility to all and empower others to listen to, create, and share their stories through education and community outreach. 

For more information, check out massmouth's website. 

Norah Dooley
Norah Dooley, workshop leader

The massmouth, inc./PST collaboration has been spearheaded by massmouth founder Norah Dooley. A storyteller, critically-acclaimed children’s author and educator, Norah started a story slam series in Greater Boston as co-founder of massmouth, inc. Additionally, Norah has published six storytelling CDs, and her widely acclaimed picture book, Everybody Cooks Rice is one of four titles in a series about her former neighborhood in Cambridge, Mass. She teaches storytelling, performance skills, directs theater, and performs in schools, libraries and teacher’s conferences. Norah was the featured storyteller in the Christmas and Spring Revels in Cambridge and Boston, Mass., the Cambridge River Festival, Newport Folk Festival, Albany NY River Festival, 3 Apples Storytelling Festival, MA and at the Clearwater Festival.

For more information about Norah, visit her website.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Behind the Scenes at PST: The Three Little Pigs

WonderSpark Puppets: They've Got Their Hands Full

Welcome back, readers!  It's yours truly, Esra Erol, one of the marketing interns here at PST, and I'll be taking you on a behind-the-scenes look at WonderSpark Puppets' rendition of The Three Little Pigs, due to premiere at PST this week!

Chad Williams & Lindsey "Z" Briggs - Founders of WonderSpark Puppets
Now, I don't know if you know this, but the Three Little Pigs are traveling all the way from Central Park in New York City to Boston. That's right.  When they're not traveling to different venues, like PST, WonderSpark Puppets - founded by husband-and-wife team Chad Williams and Lindsey "Z" Briggs - perform a variety of puppet shows for children and adults alike in the different boroughs of Manhattan, Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, etc.  They also volunteer at Mount Sinai's KidZone TV and have given lectures and demonstrations to a class at the Children's Museum for the Arts in Manhattan.

I think it's no secret: both Chad and Lindsey care deeply about children and bringing the arts to the children, which is why their rendition of The Three Little Pigs is guaranteed to bring in laughs and smiles from your little ones.  

Bringing the Pigs to the Stage

We all know the story: Three Little Pigs build three little houses, but when the Big Bad Wolf comes rollin' into town, hungry for some bacon, they have to see which of their three structures can withstand his huffin' and his puffin'.

In his adaption of the classic tale, Chad Williams hauls an entire show...alone!  He manipulates different characters, changes scenery, and keeps direct contact with the audience.  "How," you may ask?  With table-top puppetry, of course!
The Three Little Pigs in Central Park
By using the table-top style, he can manipulate up to two characters at once, stop for a bit of storytelling, and quickly summon different puppets or change a prop in full view of the audience, which allows him to create this intimacy between the stage and the audience.

From Script to Stage

Now, for those of you who may not know, this show is what the industry refers to as an "adaptation," meaning it's based on previously written material - in this case, The Three Little Pigs.  Of course, that shouldn't suggest this is not, in a way, a WonderSpark Puppets original.  

During rehearsals, Chad did re-writes of the script.  His mantra for writing characters is to "make each one stand out."  In other words, each of the pigs, while literally being made of the same materials and patterns - all of which were designed by Lindsey - had to have completely different voices, mannerisms, fatal flaws, and goals.  As a writer, it was important for Chad to ask questions like: What does each pig want?  What can the Big Bad Wolf use against them?  And so on...
Chad Performing as One of the Three Little Pigs
By taking these steps - asking questions, doing character profiles, and re-writing the script - Chad was able to take someone else's Three Little Pigs and make them his own, giving them wacky personalities like the "Sloth," the "Diva," and the "Nerd."

Speaking of them pigs - you can't help but wonder: what would've happened if they had done their homework and gone to, let's say, Cal Poly, which offers some of the best undergraduate programs in architecture and engineering.  They probably would've built more durable houses - you know, to withstand the big, bad breath of the Big Bad Wolf.  Thank goodness that's not the case because then there'd be no story and the wonderful people at WonderSpark Puppets wouldn't be able to perform their delightful version of The Three Little Pigs.

To see 'em in action - and by action I mean, going head-to-head with the Big Bad Wolf - come on down to PST, where WonderSpark Puppets will be performing The Three Little Pigs on September 22 and September 23 (BUY TICKETS).  You know you can't resist puppet pigs!

'Til next time.  Yours truly, Esra.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Three Little Piggies Are Comin' to PST


The 2nd Annual 

The Three Little Pigs
by WonderSpark Puppets
Sat & Sun | Sep 22 & 23 | 1 PM & 3 PM

He'll HUFF.  He'll PUFF.  And he'll BLOW any house down - at least, he says he can.  Can the Three Little Pigs withstand the Big Bad Wolf's big, bad breath?  Find out this week at PST.

About the Show: The Three Little Pigs build their houses of hay, wood, and stone, but the question is: can they withstand the Big Bad Wolf?  The classic tale is retold with hilarious puppet pigs and a silly wolf, with an emphasis on 'being prepared'.
Table top puppets, recommended for ages 3 & up

About the PerformerBased in New York City, WonderSpark Puppets performs award-winning puppet theater in all sorts of venues: theatres, schools, libraries, children’s museums, and even in your living room. You never know where WonderSpark Puppets will appear next.

Founded by husband and wife, Chad Williams and Lindsey “Z.” Briggs, WonderSpark Puppets infuse fun and whimsy into all of their performances. They are happy to perform puppet shows for kids and adults alike.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Behind the Scenes at PST: Jack & the Beanstalk

Crabgrass Puppet Theatre: Masters of Illusion.

Greetings, readers!  My name is Esra and every week we, the marketing team here at PST, are going to give you a special inside-look at how some of our shows come to life!

Adapting the Story

Colorful scenery, exciting puppetry, and a delightful musical score - you can see and hear it all in the Crabgrass Puppet Theatre's retelling of the tallest of tales, Jack and the Beanstalk, which is everything it should be: a fun, giant-sized adventure for all ages.

Now, some of you may be wondering: what are the "mechanics" of puppet theatre, especially with this particular show?  Well, we're glad you asked!

The Mechanics

Let's begin with the stage.  Rather than create two separate sets, the talented artsits at the Crabgrass Puppet Theatre combined Jack's home (bottom) with that of the Giants (top).  

The question is: why?  Simple.  Jack and the Beanstalk tells the story of  a young lad who exchanges the family cow for a handful of magic beans.  When he plants the beans, a beanstalk grows in his backyard and Jack, being ever-so curious, climbs it, only to find himself high above the clouds in the Giants' world.  

In order to create this illusion - the Giants living atop the human world on the beanstalk - the artists at the Crabgrass Puppet Theatre combined what could have been two separate sets into one.

Of course, we know you readers to be just as curious as good 'ol Jack, so you've probably got some more questions.  Perhaps one like, "How does the real Jack appear smaller next to the Giants if they're puppets?"  Good question!  If the real Jack stood next to the Giants - well, he would appear more giant than the Giants because he's an actual person and the Giants are puppets.  So, to solve this problem, the artists at Crabgrass Puppet Theatre created a puppet-sized Jack, thus making him appear smaller next to the Giants.
Remember, this show's about bringing the story of Jack and the Beanstalk to life.  In order to do that, the artists at the Crabgrass Puppet Theatre had to make certain adjustments on stage.  By combining two sets Jack's home with the Giants' home into one, they were able to create the illusion of two worlds, one on the ground and one in the sky, atop the beanstalk.  And by creating a puppet-sized Jack, they were able to create the illusion of a tiny Jack, making the actually small puppet Giants seem giant-sized.

To see these wonderful "mechanics" at work, check out a preview of the show below: 

Then, attend one of the several performances at the Puppet Showplace Theatre between September 15th and 17th (BUY TICKETS). 

Thanks for reading!  Be sure to come back next week for another "Behind the Scenes at PST."  

Yours truly, Esra - Marketing Intern.


Jack and the Beanstalk: Giant-Sized Entertainment Comes to PST


The 2nd Annual

Jack and the Beanstalk
by Crabgrass Puppet Theatre
Sat Sun & Mon | Sept 15 16 & 17 | 1pm & 3pm (Sat & Sun) 10:30am & 1pm (Mon)

The saying goes, "Dreams can come true." This week at PST, Jack plants three magic beans, dreams of a magic beanstalk, and later that night, one grows in his backyard! See what happens when he gathers the courage to climb up the beanstalk and explore the world above...and the giants who live there!

About the show: Sent to the market to sell his old cow, Jack returns home with a measly handful of beans. Jack is devastated until... the beans become a beanstalk, the beanstalk leads to adventure, and Jack has a chance at fame and fortune. All he has to do is outwit a very hungry giant! Crabgrass Puppet Theatre's hilarious retelling of the tallest of tales is full of fun and loaded with laughs. Colorful scenery, exciting puppetry, and a delightful musical score combine to create a giant-sized entertainment for all ages.
Mixed styles, recommended for ages 3 & up

About the performer: The Crabgrass Puppet Theatre is an award-winning touring puppet theatre founded in 1982 by Jamie Keithline and Bonny Hall. Jamie and Bonny met in 1979, while performing in Laughingstock!, a puppet-and-actor production at the University of Connecticut in which Bonny played Jamie's father. They have been working together ever since!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Puppet Showplace Slam Roster Revealed!

Digital Fairy Godfather by Brad Shur

The Puppet Showplace Slam: Grown-up Fairytales Edition” presented by Puppet Showplace Theatre will take place on September 15 at 8:00 pm. The slam features  entertaining original works of puppetry, mask, and object theatre created by artists from across the New England Region.


Brad Shur – “A Digital Fairy Godfather Puppet”
Shur has been PST’s Artist-in-Residence since the fall of 2009. He has designed and fabricated puppets for American Idol, Dollywood, and other theaters and performers from Austin, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts
Nicola McEldowney

Jake Schacter aka Puppet Master Jake – “Cinderella (A Retelling)”
Puppet Master Jake’s wild interpretation of the classic fairytale is set in the Jurassic period (dino times) and involves an inter-species foot fetish. When he’s not puppeteering, PMJ works as a professional zookeeper.

Nicola McEldowney – “The Golden Stoat”
“The Golden Stoat” is an original bawdy, comedic fairytale set in the Groin region of France and features a large cast of mouth puppet characters. McEldowney is an actress, writer, and international woman of mystery.

John J. King (local playwright) – “The Fairy Wife”
“The Fairy Wife” is a fantasy about love, magic, and difficult choices. King’s other titles include “From Denmark with Love,” “Martha’s (B)rainstorm,” and “The Adventures of Dingleberry Gin.”

Norah Dooley

Norah Dooley
Dooley is a storyteller and critically acclaimed children’s author and educator. Additionally, she is the co-founder of massmouth, inc., a nonprofit that promotes storytelling through education, digital media, and live performance. Massmouth, inc. will be collaborating with PST in the coming months.

For more information about massmouth, inc./PST events, go here.

Petaluma Vale
Petaluma Vale (harpist) and Valerie Thompson (cellist)  
The duo will be performing original “enchanted folk pop” songs about Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood.  Check out Vale’s tunes here.

Co-Hosts: Brad Shur and Phil Berman (local actor)

The Puppet Showplace Slam: Grown-up Fairytales Edition”
Puppet Showplace Theatre
Saturday, September 15, 2012, 8:00pm
Tickets: $15 general; $13 students and PST members

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

From The Pen of Bella Monster

Welcome Bella fans!

Stephanie Gibree
Animator and Intern at PST!
Today is usually the day Bella Monster makes her 'My New Favorite Thing' post, but this week I am going to post on her behalf. My name is Stephanie Gibree and I am a recent college graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design from the Animation Department.  I have a passion for children’s media and a love of bringing my wildest imaginations to life through animating. I have also been lucky enough to have the privilege to intern at the amazing Puppet Showplace Theatre this summer!

As the Marketing and Graphic Design intern I had many projects to bounce from. I had a blast working on them all, such as helping design flyers for upcoming shows and animating the Puppet Showplace Logo for a future video channel.

I was always hesitant about taking on an internship in fear that I wouldn't have any active responsibility and would be somewhere getting people coffee. I am thankful I chose Puppet Showplace Theatre because I had so many opportunities to try something new and I learned so much in this short period of time.

I also made a lot of great connections such as participating and showing my work in this summer's Puppet Slam. I admired every piece and was grateful to be a part of something so one of a kind.

Yes, that’s who I was about 60% of the time.

Though I have to confess that I have been leading a double life these past few months. You see, I am also the voice and heart behind Bella Monster's weekly blog posts, 'My New Favorite Thing'. I have been living Bella's social media life and Monstering all over Brookline! I have been Monster tweeting, Monster blogging, Monster photographing and Monster living, loving and laughing!

My goal in these weekly blog posts was to present information about upcoming shows in a way that puppet fans would admire. If someone is visiting our blog, that means they love puppetry so why not let the puppet do the talking? 

I hope you have enjoyed reading Bella's posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them. It's been a pleasure investigating the world of puppetry with the curious, fabulous, and loving Bella Monster. Bella has a joy for life and that joy is contagious. I can’t say I will miss her, only because I will never leave her behind.

Thank you to everyone at Puppet Showplace Theatre who helped give me an amazing internship. I learned a lot from all of you. I am very thankful for the opportunity. It was a great summer!

With Love,
 Stephanie Gibree and Bella Monster

Jack Tuesday: Fairytale Investigator
By LionHeart Puppets
Saturday, September 8, 2012 @ 1:00pm

The puppet investigation continues with Jack Tuesday, Fairytale Investigator! For our last case, me and Bella would like to tell you a little about this weeks up coming show. Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep and doesn't know where to find them...But Jack Tuesday's the guy who can figure out why someone would try to hide them! Audiences will love this original "whodunit" mystery show, starring a cast of familiar storybook characters and the world's greatest (and only?) fairytale detective. Hope to see you there!