The Nutcracker at the PuppetCo

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This year I was asked by the PuppetCo Playhouse to be in their seasonal production of The Nutcracker.  This show has been performed now for 27 years during the holidays, and the “track” I was given, was extensively marionette heavy. And I was sooooooo excited.

To start with, I was given a DVD, and I learned where I was supposed to go by viewing it, and rehearsing on my own with the marionette bridge when I wasn’t in rehearsal with Christopher Piper.  It took us a few weeks of rehearsal using the puppets and full bodied costumes to get all of the choreography down.

This show is a workout.  I went up and down the ladder several times per performance and had two full bodied character masks and costumes to wear, which aren’t terrible heavy, but can get hot fast.  I also go to puppeteer many of the marionettes for the show.  I learned how to flap wings on a marionette and fly as Mother Goose, got to do crazy figure eights with another puppeteer and some cute little sheep, puppeteered the evil mice minions (Jeff and Ralph) during the epic Rat King battle, and manipulated Clara, the main girl of the show, when she is a small puppet version of her self.  I worked every day to refine my movements and learn as much as I could about marionettes because they are a style that I don’t get to use often and want to be much more comfortable with.

The experience was delightful and the cast was great to work with.  We ended up doing more shows in a month than I did during the entire summer of repertory theater!  (It was a marathon).  I look forward to more opportunities such as this one.

 

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