Rapunzel at the PuppetCo September 2016

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The Prince, Witch Wartsmith, and Rapunzel surrounding me. Photo by Christopher Piper

One woman.  Two hands.  Six puppets.  45 minutes of mad cap comedy chaos.

During Sleeping Beauty,  I was asked if I would feel comfortable performing a solo show. Not only did I enthusiastic say “Yes! Let’s do it!” but I pretty much skipped the whole way home.  I have been waiting for this opportunity and I could not have asked for a more enriching experience with a delightful script and a director who let me be a goofball and would pull me back when it was a little….too over the top.

This script was written in the 1970’s bye Duane T Bowers and performed originally with two people as a hand puppet show.  It’s the story of Rapunzel, but she doesn’t really show up until about halfway through the show.  It’s sort of like an origin story, except it doesn’t need a reboot every five years.  It begins with the “chorus” narrator introducing the husband and wife who desperately want a baby, who just happen to live next to Witch Wartsmith’s enchanted rapunzel garden.  Oh, and rapunzel is a type of radish by the way.   Yep.  That long haired princess admired by many…is named after a vegetable.  I had great fun with the pre-show speech talking about if anybody knew anybody named Broccoli or Carrot.

One day, the wife wakes up with a horrible craving for rapunzel and insists that the husband steal her some, much to his dismay.  He relents and the third time he goes, he meets the witch.

It should be said at this point that Witch Wartsmith is probably one of the most adorable and misunderstood characters in the history of the PuppetCo.  She wants a child of her own, now, the way she goes about it is probably not the best, by telling the couple who steal her radishes that she wants their first born baby, which they promise in return, because they don’t think they can have a child.  But of course, they do!

The slapstick comedy abounds.  Allan let me have freedom to try new bits and the eye to pull me back when it didn’t read or was way too much (Although I’m not sure how ‘too many kisses’ is every too much. Heeheehee)  Rehearsal was so much fun. It was very laid back and we worked well together.

I was the first woman to perform the show solo and that was a great honor.  I had to have several different voices because I played both male and female characters and wanted to make them distinct.  When I would go out after the show to say goodbye to the theatre patrons, I would often get asked where the other guy was.  I would say, no, I preformed the show by myself, and then would get asked if the voices were recorded.  I would respond no, I do them all live.  One person rolled his eyes and didn’t believe me, like I was lying to him.  I found this all quite funny and to be a huge compliment.

This show I could do over and over again and again because it is just so much fun.  I hope to be able to take up to the New Jersey area and perform at other venues because it is a jewel not to be missed.

 

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Just puppets.  No other performer hiding out under the play board. 

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