Today is November 30, 2015. Only one month left in this year. Which means that time is ticking away. We premier our newest original show, “Once Upon a Fairy Tale” in March 2016. Lots of work to do…
After a recent trip down to Atlanta, Georgia for the grand re-opening of the Center For Puppetry Arts and the new expansion that houses the Global Puppetry Collection, as well as the new Jim Henson Collection, we have been inspired to go in a completely different direction. We have decided to completely redesign the set of this new show, utilizing a non-traditional style puppet stage. Instead of using a “box type” puppet stage, with curtains and a playboard, we will be using a much more open type of staging. We have designed a 10′ X 4′ X 14″ valance, made of 1″ PVC tubing. The playboard will attach to the top and a fabric cover will be placed over the entire unit. The fabric will be painted to look like a stone, garden wall, with stone blocks, flowers and vines. There will be two levels of shelves within the valance, to hold all of the puppets and props for the show. Black velour curtain panels will frame the performance area and we will add a 14′ backdrop behind the valance. The middle section of the backdrop will be a projection screen and we will be projecting scenery onto the screen from a video projector, placed behind the set. This will cut down on the amount of set pieces that we need to carry and will allow for some really creative “looks” for the show.
All of the puppets for this new production will be “Muppet-Type” hand puppets. Bright and colorful, these will appeal to the younger audience members that have watched shows like Sesame Street. Most of the puppets have been built. We still need to complete the hair, costumes and faces of the many characters that will be a part of this show!
By the way, the new expansion at the Center For Puppetry Arts is amazing. This eight year, $14,000,000 project was made possible through grants and private donations, as well as a sizable donation to the museum by the family of the late Jim Henson. What an honor it was for us to be among the very first people to view the new museum. The Global collection is brilliant, featuring puppets from around the world. Some of the highlights for us were traditional bunraku puppets from Japan, Indonesian shadow puppets, Mufasa and Scar, from the Broadway production of “Lion King”, “Madame” the ventriloquist figure from puppeteer Wayland Flowers and the original puppets used for all of the “Gumby & Pokey” features.
The other half of the new museum houses the “Jim Henson Collection”. It is an awesome tribute to Muppets creator Jim Henson, as well as to his wife Jane and his children who have kept the work and the dream alive. So many familiar faces to see; Bert and Ernie, Elmo, Oscar the grouch, Big Bird, and of course, Kermit the frog. Puppets from Labyrinth and the Dark Crystal, Muppet Treasure Island, Fraggle Rock, The Story Teller, Sam & Friends, and so many more, all together in one place, was a very emotional visit with old friends and family! The collection contains some 500 puppets, that will be a part of a continually rotating exhibit. So that, every time you visit, you will see different characters!
Enough for now…time to get back to work!
Peace and Love!