Reporters for The Backstage Beat recently had the pleasure of attending a performance of The Ghastly Dreadfuls, and were astounded by the beautiful mixture of live music and dance combined with incredible elaborate puppet shorts. From the set design to the choreography, this production proved to be one of the most cleverly crafted and executed theater sets this reporter has seen in recent years.
With a well rounded production introduced the audience to the Dreadful Family of ghouls who rise from the grave during this time of years and take human form (in most cases). Rising from the dead, it seems, involves a lot of wonderful showmanship and musicianship in Victorian inspired costuming. Each of the Dreadful is introduced in turn by the ring master of this frightful circus, Simply Dreadful.
The show continues by interspersing vaudeville styles shows with a selection of puppet vignettes representing puppet stories from around the globe. Some of the vignettes include songs such as the opener, “La Petite Vampyr,” and others work through voice over or dramatization, such as the compelling “11:59”. Not one of the pieces or songs fell flat. In a very real way, this production combined the best of early 20th century live theater with the best of modern puppetry.
While this reporter is not an expert in modern puppetry, The Ghastly Dreadfuls is more than just a marionette show and captivates by using a number of technologies. Some segments do use straight up marionettes, other use stick figure puppets, giant plywood cut outs, or even puppets that can be considered dolls manipulated directly the by puppeteer director. One amazing set involving witches, skeletons, black cats and a sophisticated
Puppetry is an art form on the rise, and there is no better place to experience the best in puppetry than Atlanta’s internationally known, home for puppetry. The Backstage Beat urges you to get your tickets at the box office for the remaining shows, and advises readers to keep an eye future shows from the Center for Puppetry Arts, plus an exclusive 4 pack family tickets to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
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