Friday, October 29, 2010

Tip of the hat to ...

The Ottawa Puppetry Club's annual show was a great success! Our puppeteers turned up the magic and charmed a lively, responsive audience, who laughed and applauded with genuine enjoyment just as we'd hoped. Spirits and energy stayed high throughout the three tales presented, even the puppets behaved admirably and performed on cue. That is, all except for one little jester back stage who jumped off his hook and landed in a heap of tangled strings right in the middle of the show! But as we all know, puppeteers are never frazzled, so jumbled strings were sorted, jester soundlessly rebuked, and the rest went right on cue as the audience sat delighted and unaware. We're such a cool bunch!

Masks, marionettes, hand puppets, mouth puppets, rod puppets and shadow puppets have all been included in various casts of past shows, but this year the marionettes in the tale "To Sneeze Or Not to Sneeze", written by Sylvia, were quite a royal treat for Club members as well as for our audience. And after all, princesses and dragons are like milk and cookies, a perfect combination! And so too were our performers of this skit Donna, Sylvia, and Pauline, along with additonal backstage helpers.

One of the most satisfying results in belonging to the Ottawa Puppetry Club, is to see creative confidence grow to a point where a member begins to build his or her own beautiful puppets. Such was the case in  "How The Elephant Got Its Trunk", a whimsical retelling of Kipling's Elephant's Child. In the Club show, fanciful marottes and mouth puppets complemented the story, a collaborative whirl by Lisa and Carolyn.  And it was Just-so well performed by Lisa, Margot, Carolyn, and Donna.

"The Woodcutter and the Mermaid" is an Aesop's fable that caught my interested, first because I was not familiar with it, and second because I like mermaids. A few years ago, I had created Waverly, a pretty mermaid puppet, for a skit in another OPC show, so here was a nifty chance for me to use her in a new tale (love puns)!  Shadow puppet scenes set to music opened and ended the story, but the in-between parts were told on a table-top stage using large, sponge, mouth puppets. A kind woodcutter, a magical owl that spoke in rhyme, and a cranky thief rounded out the cast of characters. Written and performed by Peggy and Bob, quite the character himself!

As as a small community group, the OPC promotes its annual show as best it can, and then hopes for a good turn out.  This year, our tip of the hat goes to Susan Toccalino from CBC Radio's In Town and Out, heard Saturday mornings on 91.5FM.  CBC's invitation to record a show announcement not only helped with attendance, but also gave an OPC member an opportunity to experience how it's done in radio. Our thanks!

Whether performing in the show, behind the scenes, working lighting or looking after ticket sales, Club members help out and support each other in order to perform these annual shows, so thanks again Sharon and Anne. And as always over these past ten years, the Ottawa Puppetry Club gratefully thanks Peter for kindly volunteering, and patiently being our sound technician, for turning our music selections into smooth, audible pieces, and for teaching us a great deal about sound equipment along with way.

So take a breather everyone, then practice, practice, practice, for the Spring show!!

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