Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Behind the Scenes at PST: Dr. Doohickey's Monster Machine

Reginald the Rabbit, the monster!
Doohickey M.D.?

Dr. Doohickey may not have a degree from the Yale School of Medicine, but that's ok.  You're not in need of any health-related advice.  You're in need of a good show - nay, a great show!  Well, guess what?  Dr. Doohickey's Monster Machine is just that - a great show.

About the Show...

Halloween's just around the corner and you're all probably wondering: what makes Dr. Doohickey's Monster Machine so spook-tacular?  Well, for one thing, the words "Doctor" and "Monster" are in the same title. Take a look at Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Both have taught us that when doctors and monsters mix, they result in Halloween-worthy stories.
Reginald and Friends

Of course, Dr. Doohickey's Monster Machine is not grotesquely scary like most of today's scary stories, movies, etc.  It's Halloween fun that everybody can enjoy, including the wee little children.

With the help of his assistant, Reginald the Rabbit, Dr. Doohickey embarks on a quest.  Using music, machines, and a little bit of magic, he sets out to prove that the world would be a much more exciting place if people were a little bit more like monsters.  Actually, not like monsters.  Dr. Doohickey tries to turn people into monsters, which makes sense, right?  What else is one supposed to do with a monster machine?

Now, Dr. Doohickey's Monster Machine is very different from most puppet shows that pass through PST.  We're so used to seing so many small hand puppets that we forget they can be big.  Take Reginald the Rabbit, for example.  He's pretty big - almost the size of a real-life person.  And his mouth moves, too!  So, it's almost like he is a real person, even though he's kind of a "thing."  

Also, he's not the only puppet - or should I say, "person" - on stage.  Brad actually performs as Dr. Doohickey.  And there are, of course, a few shadow puppets here and there!  What a perfect Halloween-related factor, right?  Shadow puppets.  What could be more "Halloween-y?" 

Doctors, Monsters, and everything in between - how did Brad Shur come up with such an amazing show?  Hmm...perhaps it's because he's super talented.  Yeah, I think it's that.

...And the Man Behind Dr. Doohickey

I don't know if you knew this, but Brad Shur is the Artist-in-Residence here at PST.  Since he first started in 2009, Brad has performed a variety of shows on our stage, including three of Paul Vincent Davis' original shows (The Singing Turtle, Raccoon Tales, Clown Circus) and some of his own, like Dr. Doohickey's Monster Machine, The Carrot Salesman and Magic Soup & Other Stories.
Brad in The Carrot Salesman
Brad also brings the magic of puppetry to schools, libraries, and other venues.  Yes, that's right.  He's a touring performer as well as an in-house performer.  Also, people find themselves so intrigued by how Brad constructs his shows, from script to stage, they often enroll in some of the teaching classes he offers here at PST.  Last summer, for example, Brad offered a workshop called "Junk Puppets," in which he taught puppet enthusiasts how to make puppets from recycled materials.
Brad, teaching "Junk Puppets"
As for the year before, Brad performed The Carrot Salesman at the Huntington Arcade, presented by The Kid's Stage in Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  This event - "Puppets Take Prudential" - occurred at the Prudential Center, where the Boston skyline was lit up with PST's signature orange color in honor of the theatre's month-long "31 Nights of Light," which was everyone's way of celebrating local non-profit organizations.
Brad, doing "Puppets Take Prudential"
Of course, what about before and outside PST?  In 2003, Brad graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Film, Animation, and Video.  Pretty impressive, right?  Well, it doesn't end there.  After, he was a workshop leader for Wood and Strings Theatre, where he performed in full-stage, nationally touring shows.  Also, he built the interactive show Escape From the Zoo.  
Brad, making puppets for Escape From the Zoo
Then, he was an art teacher at the Providence After School Alliance, teaching grades five through seven.  His students created masks, comics, a collaborative video game, and a short film - which you can see HERE.

In between all this, he founded Little Bee Puppets, where he created and performed shows for children and adults alike throughout Nashville, TN and Providence, RI.

And if all of this isn't enough to "wow" you - Brad also designed, built, and performed body puppets for an American Idol commercial, headed by Ford.  Check it out:

Yes, it's no secret: Dr. Doohickey's Monster Machine is guaranteed to bring a smile to audiences of all ages with many thanks to our super talented Artist-In-Residence, Brad Shur.  Be sure to come on down to PST and join us as we launch our two week-long "Halloween Extravaganza" this Friday, October 19th. 

In case you haven't done so already, tickets for Dr. Doohickey's Monster Machine can be purchased online (HERE).

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

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