Expand your horizons! Puppetry is an ancient tradition with roots in shamanistic rituals and religious ceremonies. The word "marionette" is actually derived from "Little Mary" in French and refers to the nativity plays held by the church in Medieval times to educate the illiterate masses. Puppetry has been present in one form or another throughout time on every human inhabited continent (I don't think penguins in Antarctica have any works to their credit).
Modern puppetry ranges all over the place: silly, sublime, outrageous, shocking, beautiful, celebratory, intimate, spectacle, and everything beyond and in between. In America, we tend to think "Muppets" and "kids," but in the rest of the world, puppetry is embraced as a theatrical form for adult audiences. In Indonesia, you can watch shadow performances that last all night long. Bunraku in Japan, Water Puppetry in Vietnam, and African Mask are a few other forms steeped in tradition. Throughout Europe, Australia, Canada, and (yes!) even the United States, puppet artists work to create works that share stories with unique visions for contemporary audiences.
We'd like to bring a full-spectrum of puppetry to Richmond audiences.
(This is the first in a series of ten in-depth reasons to support Puppets Off-Broad Street.)
Heidi Rugg is a puppet artist, mom, maker of stuff, and the founder of Puppets Off-Broad Street. Her company, Barefoot Puppet Theatre, has toured all over the country. She lives in Richmond's Northside with her husband, Sam, two daughters as different as rain and ribbons, a cat named Moxie, a lizard named Pepper, and a legion of nameless dust-bunnies.
Christopher Hudert is a is a versatile artist whose skills include script writing, sculpting, set and puppet construction, puppetry, clowning, stilt walking, juggling and much more. His company, Applause Unlimited, has toured extensively. He lives in Lakeside with his family.