Tears of Joy Theatre
March 6, 2005
I appreciate value of retelling old folktales, but how cool would it be to occasionally mix up the puppet medium to tell modern, real-world urban legends? And could puppetry somehow break the fourth wall and immerse itself in its audience? Like a magician doing card tricks in your own hands?
“Stylized puppets and rich costumes dance and swirl in this original musical based on the French classic. Cinderella discovers her biggest obstacle is believing she deserves her dreams.” Finally, I understand the lesson in this frou-frou fantasy. The keys to success here will be an elaborate staging with kid-singable music.
Ride the Red Mare
“Leo is stolen by the trolls and his sister sets off to rescue him.” Adapted from Ursula K. Le Guinn story. If little boys love trolls and little girls love horses, there’s little reason to doubt this combination. At least this seems close to a modern urban legend for kids.
“With 30 spectacular puppets created in China, this fast-paced production depicts the hilarious adventures of Monkey King and his followers.” Exposing kids to worldwide multiculturalism is a challenge TOJT tackles always zealously and often triumphantly. Here’s hoping that the performances, too, will introduce foreign concepts, for a taste of Chinese.
“Shadow puppetry, captivating storytelling and live music … brings to life … tale of a tiny girl who searches for a home until she finds the land of the flower fairies.” Live music is always commendable, but sounds like puppetry itself better be pretty cool to keep the boys’ attention.
Blame It On the Moon
“How did it happen that all people die?” Performed with bunraku puppets and masks, accompanied by musicians and dancers to coincide with celebration of Day of the Dead. Cheers to TOJT for turning to bilingual Ecuadorean folktale that broaches a serious subject that kids should talk about. One to watch.
ComedySportz: Puppetz vs. People
“Hilarious improvisational competition.” When not on script, puppets always seem to ad lib with skill and wit, so as silly as this evening sounds, it’s probably one of the most entertaining of the season, due to the interaction between human and hand, a give-and-take typically sidelined from other TOJT performances.