Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Magical World of Puppets

Dear George,
We’re taking our OLLI classes at the university again this fall, and part of this involves field trips in the community.  Most recently we went to a local puppet studio on the West side.  It’s one of the three largest puppetry centers in the nation, the other two being in Atlanta and Seattle.  There are ten full-time staff, a million dollar budget, and a 23-state area in which they travel for performances, most often for schools.  Some of the puppets cost $5-10,000 apiece to construct, aside from the substantial designer fees.  It was just sort of a magical visit.  Puppetry, it turns out, is one of the oldest form of theater arts, dating back some three thousand years.  Aristotle wrote about puppets, as did Herodotus and Xenophon in the fifth century B.C.  Some historians believe that puppets were used before human actors, and they’re present in nearly all human societies.  As we know from watching Pinocchio, there is something mystical that occurs when puppets come to life.  Here are photos of some of the many puppets that we saw on our trip.  As you’ll see, they are a friendly and captivating bunch.

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