“Open Eye Figure Theatre continues to offer up fascinating work in its compressed dream factory space. . . . Puppets are so evocative, unpredictable, and weird. Go see some.” —City Pages
Program 1 (all ages)
Program 2 (contains adult language and content)
Intimate, inventive, and wonderfully odd, toy theater has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, especially in the Twin Cities. From shows-in-a-suitcase, paper marionettes, and wearable theater to shadow plays, weird object animation, and table-top cantastorias (sung stories), a new wave of theater miniaturists is captivating audiences with fresh approaches to an old art form. The award-winning Open Eye Figure Theatre began showcasing the burgeoning local scene in 2007, and now partners with the Walker to expand into a two-week festival and present a program that includes short new pieces from local and national artists. Two distinctly different programs offer a stunning spectrum of miniature puppetry work. Featuring the far flung and home grown puppeteers Justin Spooner, Kurt Hunter, Z Puppets, Robin Schwartzman, Kristi Tiernes, David Commander, Amber Davis, Dolly Wagglers, Michael Montenegro, Michael Sommers, and Billy Mullaney. Curated by Susan Haas with Michael Sommers and Philip Bither.
Copresented with Open Eye Figure Theatre.
Waterbox, a watery tale of birth and death told by inanimate objects, Justin Spooner (Minneapolis); Balls, Robin Schwartzman, an amusing look at sibling rivalry, (Minneapolis); Lecture with Calvin a puppet attacks the lecturer (help!), and Meet Baby Gigi, cooing and darling, Michael Montenegro (Chicago); The Wood Choppers Opera, a story of invention served with toast, Dolly Wagglers (Lindsay McCaw and Adam Cook, Portland, Maine); What are You Made Of, multiple mishaps of makeshift marionettes, Kurt Hunter (Minneapolis); The Gnip Gnopera, a blacklight Ping-Pong opera, Z puppets (Shari Aronson & Chris Griffeth, Minneapolis); Two Wheel Tour, a parade of oddities, Michael Sommers (Minneapolis).
Pieces, a mixture of shadow and dimensional puppetry, Amber Davis, Ali Fitzpatrick, Dan Dukich, and Gary DuBreuil, (Minneapolis); Consumption, a neurotic, comical inner dialogue, Kristi Tiernes (Minneapolis); Gobble ‘em up Quick, a canta historia about chocolate, chastity, and regret, Billy Mullaney (Minneapolis); The Sardine Circus, a hilariously greasy and odorous tale, Dolly Wagglers (Maine); The Old Chilean, Saldania, a teller of tales, and The Departure Arrives, an event of goodbye, Michael Montenegro (Chicago); In Flight, a plane is crashing, David Commander (Brooklyn); Sad Song Sing-along, does anyone have a tissue?, Michael Sommers (Minneapolis).
To register and for information on additional festival events (listed below), call (612) 874-6338.
Exploring Marionette Movement, taught by Kurt Hunter
Saturday, March 12, 10am-noon, $10
In a relaxed, playful atmosphere, participants will explore and discover the curious talents of simple marionettes. For adults and children ages 10 and older.
Animating the Inanimate, taught by Michael Sommers
Sunday, March 13, 11:30am–2pm, $10
Participants will explore found object theatre and create narrative through gestural events. For adults.
The Mysterious Endeavor Called Puppet Theatre, taught by Michael Montenegro
Sunday, March 20, 11am–2pm, $10
Participants will sculpt a puppet head, mount it on a body and bring it to life. Hand and rod puppetry. For adults.
Five Viewpoints on Puppetry
Saturday, March 19, 10am coffee & bagels, 10:30–noon discussion with Janie Geiser, John Bell, Michael Montenegro. Michael Sommers, and Sandy Spieler
Late Night Cabaret
Saturday, March 19, 10pm, featuring our favorite local puppeteers
Curated by Susan Haas in association with Michael Sommers and Philip Bither