Puppet Road Trip

Lately I’ve been busy with the fourth season of Virtual Puppetry Residency, but I’ve also been working on getting my puppets back out into the world. I traveled to Athens, Ohio on April second to perform Puppet Talent Show, a new puppet show and demonstration at the Dairy Barn Art Center. The show is ideal for small children, involves lots of audience interaction and features three types of puppets: rod, marionette and glove puppets. Themes of the act include building self-confidence and encouraging others to celebrate their talents. The puppets include a variety of characters that I made over the past twenty years.

My puppet show at the Dairy Barn is part of a larger project, the group juried exhibition Scribble & Play, Art for Children. The exhibition runs March 19th through April 17th. I have two collections of puppets in the exhibition.

Puppets from Joe Magarac Stories
Joe Magarac is an American folk hero from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The myth describes an Eastern European steel worker who could do the work of twenty-nine men. He could work twenty-four hours a day in the steel mill, every day of the year without a break. He could handle and form molten steel with his bare hands. Some even said that he was made of steel!
In my puppet show (created with Pittsburgh artist Mike Cuccaro), Joe arrives in America and meets a young newspaper delivery boy, Newsie Ned, who helps him get acquainted with American life. Joe works in the steel mill with Braddock Bob, who loads bags of manganese during the steelmaking process.
Dada Puppets

I created these puppets for a show exploring the Dada art movement and sound poetry. The characters are Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings and Robot. In my fictional spin on the beginnings of Dada (developed with Pittsburgh artist Mike Cuccaro), the characters Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings perform at the historical Cabaret Voltaire in 1916 in Zurich, Switzerland. Emmy dances erratically and Ball performs sound poetry dressed in an outlandish outfit. The nonsense of these actions reflected the aggravation that the artists felt during World War I. In the puppet show, we imagine that Hugo and Emmy are visited by a time traveling robot. The Robot reveals to them both struggles and hope in the future.

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