Thursday, October 11, 2012

Behind the Scenes at PST: A Woodland Cinderella

It's Not Just Cinderella, It's A Woodland Cinderella
Deborah and Cinderella

Hellooo, Readers!  This week at PST, we conclude the 2012 Fall Fairytale Festival with A Woodland Cinderella, which, we promise, is a fitting send-off for the first half of our magical fall season.

Deborah Costine: Puppeteer!

All right, folks.  Let's meet the woman responsible for A Woodland Cinderella.  That's right.  I'm talkin' bout Deborah Costine!

Deborah's first puppet
Deborah grew up in a region of Lancaster, NH known as "The Great North Woods."  Unfortunately back then, there were no visiting assembly programs, so the only puppet Deborah knew was "Bunny Rabbit" on Captain Kangaroo.  Of course, that all changed when she made a puppet of her own, a papier mache clown that sits in her studio to this day.  Does it surprise you that such a creative child grew up to be a master puppeteer?  Right.  I didn't think so.  And you know what?  The creativity didn't end there.

Since 1974, Deborah has been one-half of the well-known Gerwick Puppets, touring throughout New England at schools, libraries, museums, and events such as First Night Boston.  She writes the scripts with her partner-in-crime, Lenny Gerwick, and makes all the puppets - over two hundred to this day!
Deborah, with Lenny Gerwick
Yes, Deborah's quite the busy bee.  You don't believe me?  She has presented over 5,000 performances to over a million children.  Productions include: Aladdin and the Magic LampPilgrim Adventure in AmericaInside the Haunted House, and Midwinter Magic - just to name a few.  And in addition to her work with Gerwick Puppets, Deborah has designed, constructed, and performed solo shows such as the upcoming Woodland CinderellaThe Three Pigs and Other Tales, and The Twig Family in the Oak Tree.

And then, there's her teaching job.  Deborah has taught puppetry classes at Plymouth State University, Worcester State College, and Northeastern University.  It's almost like she's running on a never-ending battery.  She's always up and running, trying to spread the joys of puppetry, not just to students but to everyone around her, which is great news for us all because she is just delightful!
Deborah Costine: Puppeteer!

A Woodland Cinderella vs. Every Other Cinderella

Now, some of you may be wondering: what makes A Woodland Cinderella different from, let's say, Disney's Cinderella?  Well, I'll tell ya.

In 1950, Disney released their version of Cinderella, one of their best - not to mention one of the greatest adaptations of all time.  Though, back then, it was considered a major gamble.  The story goes: if Cinderella had failed at the box office, then Disney Studios would have shut down forever.  Luckily for them, it was a huge hit, one of their first since Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, which they released in 1937.  So imagine that - it took Disney Studios thirteen years to get back on top.  Hard to imagine, right?  Considering they're very much on top of their game today.
Disney's Cinderella (1950)
Anyway, you know the story: Cinderella is the much-loved daughter of a widowed aristocrat.  Feeling that his daughter needs a mother's care, he marries Lady Tremaine, a proud woman with two daughters from her first marriage, Drizella and Anastasia, both plain and socially awkward and bitterly envious of the beautiful and charming Cinderella.  After Cinderella's father dies, Lady Tremaine takes over the estate and she and her daughters (even their cat, Lucifer) mistreat her out of jealousy.  Regardless, Cinderella grows up to be a kind woman and she gets the happily-ever-after-ending.  You know, the one with a gorgeous pair of shoes and that sweet, sweet Prince Charming.
Deborah Costine's A Woodland Cinderella
Yes, it can't be denied: Disney's Cinderella is a lovely adaptation, but I'm more interested in Deborah Costine's version, A Woodland Cinderella.  Why?  Because it's a one-woman show!  Every detail that went into making this show - the script, the puppets, the set - it's all Deborah's doing.  She put a lot of thought into.  And it's not just the beautiful set design or the elaborate puppetry that make A Woodland Cinderella so different (in fact, better) than most versions of Cinderella.  It's the theme: that it's not how beautiful you are on the outside or how much stuff you have that makes you a beautiful person.  It's "the goodness in your eyes."

You know it would be a shame to waste a wonderful opportunity like this - to see Deborah, whose fairytale puppets will be sure to please you.  Take my word for it: A Woodland Cinderella is funny, touching, and everything in between.  Be sure to come on down to PST to see a performance, starting October 12 (BUY TICKETS).  And for more information on Deborah and her amazing puppetry, please go to her website:

Till next time!  Your's truly, Esra Erol - marketing intern at PST.

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