For the last time in 2012, a group of dedicated puppeteers and puppet fans gathered together last Saturday for a Puppet Slam at Fabrefaction Theatre Company in Atlanta. And not just a puppet slam–it was the Holiday Puckin’ Fuppet and the largest gathering of puppeteers at a Puckin’ Fuppet Show ever, along with what was the largest crowd for this series. And, for their patience, the audience was rewarded with the highest quality and most entertaining puppet slam this reviewer had ever seen. Hosted by Beau Brown, who also organizes the Puckin’ Fuppet Show, the event kept the audience laughing well past 2 am.
The Puckin’ Fuppet show has been running for several years in Atlanta and was in several venues before landing most recently at Fabrefaction Theater. During its premiere in November, the event sold out and overflowed the “small” theater space at Fabrefaction, with a crowd that appeared to double the numbers they drew at shows even just a year ago. This time they were moved to the main stage of the theater and still filled nearly every seat. The puppeteers were performing their routines and bits on the stage of Little Women, the musical, but no one seemed to mind. They were too busy being entertained.
For those who do not know what a puppet slam its, puppeteer Maya Ajuja summed it up as “short form puppetry that allows an artist to get an idea in a quick and dirty manner. The focus is not on the performance, but instead on getting the piece out to the audience.” These pieces in the puppet slam tend to be humorous, but not all are. Some pieces can be irreverent or even cross the boundaries of good taste, but it’s a chance for the puppeteer to experiment. When asked about the growth of the Puckin’ Fuppet Show, Maya explained that “because of the center for puppetry arts, Atlanta has a strong puppet community,” and that strong community brings a lot of talent to the Puckin’ Fuppet Show.
While it is true that Puppet Slams are juried and prizes are given out for the top three performances, Beau Brown runs his Puckin’ Fuppet Show with much more democracy than some slams. There is no assessment before performing, and no vetting of the acts for “pure puppetry.” Puppetry is the universal art found in all cultural and in all times, and the tools used are varied as shadows against a backdrop, or socks with eyes glued on…or even just cardboard cutouts!
The standout performances from The Holiday Puckin’ Fuppet Show underscore the diversity and artistry of the format. This year there were fourteen puppets acts this year, causing many of the traditional holiday games to be eliminated. There was still time for “Drink a Quart of Egg Nog from a Funnel” and “Deep Throat a Large Candy Cane.” Both of those games are self explanatory.
Solistice, By Jacqui D, was a shadow play using snowflakes and patterns on an overhead projector shining on a plain scrim. This touching piece showed the weather changes of snow to rain and back again as a lovely ballet. In contrast, It’s not the End of the World showed the hedonism of two people who though the Mayan Prophecies were real and quit their jobs, shopped, and had lots of wild sex….puppet style. Dueling Jingle Bell Monkeys was classic marionette work delivered by Peter Hert as two monkeys danced and challenged each other, one controlled by each of his hands.
The three winners were announced and applauded for their originality, quality and production value, and puppetry.
3Rd Place: First Time Competitors Molly Coffee and Robert Keith Brookes for Merry Christmas Time
2nd Place: New Puppet Order’s new video A NPO Christmas, which dealt with what happens after a Christmas party with puppets.
1st Place: Charles Pillsbury with Maria Walters Stephen King, and Thom Stanley acting out Jonathan Coulter’s “Re: Eat Your Brains,” about office zombies.
While we are not aware of any set plans for the Puckin’ Fuppet Show in 2013, you can be assured that Beau Brown and the PF Show will be building on the existing success and continuing to work with puppeteers and audiences to continue bringing late night, kind of dirty puppetry to you through the new year.
“A Christmas Carol” at Theatre in the Square Brings the Holiday Cheer!
Nothing makes me feel more like Christmas is just around the corner than seeing a live performance of “A Christmas Carol.” We have been fortunate to see it performed all over the country with highlights in Boston at the North Shore Music Theatre and now a wonderful performance at the resurrected Theatre in the Square!
The intimate theater is the perfect setting for a story this classic. Even if you are sitting in the back, you will still get a great view and feel the story just fine.
From the opening of the story, through the highly appreciated musical numbers, and a wonderful full cast finale, this adaptation is simply delightful.
The cast, comprised of some amazing local talent, is as good as they get! Some of the best and stand out performances go to Bruce Speer as Scrooge, Cindy Copeland as Christmas Past, Vance West as Bob Cratchit and how could we leave out Davie DeWitt as Tiny Tim!
After the show we talked to the owner of the Theatre, Raul Thomas and he told us this. ” This adaptation by Director Tony Smithey he has been producing in a variety of forms for 18 years. Originally written to tour in schools the running time was about 55 min. With the addition of music and dancing it now runs about an hour and a half with the intermission.
In the production Tony has done a little fleshing out to Scrooge’s relationships with his Mother, his only friend Jacob Marley and his one and only true love Belle. ”
This is a must on our Holiday Fun list so get your tickets now HERE as it opens tonight!
The New Theatre in the Square Marietta is Back and Better Than Ever!
Three years ago one of my favorite local theaters took their final bow and closed up shop. Ever since I can I remember, I loved going to see performances at the Theatre on the Square in the beautiful Marietta Square. I can remember going to see some great Christmas shows with my parents and one of my favorites, the “1940’s Radio Hour”. Ahhh, the memories. But, it was all over in 2012.
Three years have come and gone and I spent two of those years in Boston and one in Florida, so imagine my delight to come back to Atlanta to find that the Theatre on the Square was revamped and ready to amaze again with great local talent.
We took a few minutes to get to know the lovely Roxanne Johnson of the Theatre and ask her a few questions.
TBB: We are so excited that the beloved Theatre in the Square in Marietta is making it’s glorious comeback. Tell me about this revival, who is involved and what we can expect?
Roxanne: It was more than heart breaking to the community as a whole to see Theatre in the Square close up shop in 2012. Immediately seeing huge potential Raul Thomas; Executive Chef, Film Maker and avid supporter of all the arts, took over the theatre in September of this year. From the community he hand picked a team of top notch creative and business professionals. We all quickly went to bring this sacred space back to it’s former glory.
Wanting to court previous supporters of the theatre we offer through our resident company standards and favorites of the community. There will also be more contemporary entertainment offered as well as concerts and comedy and other events. The former green room has now been transformed into a small film and photography studio.
The studio is available to the community. As well as classes for children and adults. We are already working closely with Marietta Middle School and Kennesaw State University. The ultimate goal is creating a multi-cultural center bringing entertainment and education to the area through art and theatre.
Information regarding what is currently running and what is coming up for us, as well as purchasing tickets can be found on our website HERE.
After the 1st of the year we will be offering season tickets, flex tickets and reserved seating.
Pure Magic! Cinderella at The Fox Theatre!
Once upon a time, there lived a little girl who dreamed of happiness, played with her animal friends and loved her daddy. She loved to pretend that she was the beautiful princess at a ball, dancing the night away. Yes, once upon a time.
As the years went by, the girl grew older but her dreams never died. She still loves her daddy, her animal friends and of course, dreams of happiness and princess gowns.
Last night, that little girl witnessed the most amazing thing! A true princess transform on stage and she knew that anything was possible! So, she began to dream some more!
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