The Washington Montessori School in New Preston is excited to announce its 8th Annual Puppetry Festival. This year’s festival will feature shows on Saturdays in February at 10:30 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $8 each. (Children under 2 are free.)
“The puppetry festival is a treasured event here at WMS,” said Jill Skilton, Director of Communications at Washington Montessori School. “It’s a great way to spend a cold, winter morning with your children. Each show is about an hour long including a ‘meet-and-greet’ with the puppets. After each performance, children and their parents are always invited to play in our gymnasium to burn off some energy before heading home.”
The season will begin Saturday, February 1 with a 10:30 a.m. performance of “Monkey Wreaks Havoc in Heaven” by Margaret Moody of Galapagos Puppets of Massachusetts. Based on a classic tale of Chinese mythology, “Monkey Wreaks Havoc in Heaven” is performed with traditional Chinese puppets, Chinese music and intricate “Chang Chung Hsi” choreography. In this rendition of the story, the Chinese Monkey King delights in his new job in the Heavenly Peach Garden, snatching delicious, forbidden peaches. But when he finds out that he’s been left out of the New Year banquet honoring the Year of the Horse, Monkey flies off to make mischief in the Heavens.
“We thought it’d be fun to kick off the season with this show because it happens to fall on Chinese New Year,” said Ms. Skilton. “It’s a great show based on one of the best-loved characters Chinese literature and Margaret is a wonderful performer.” Ms. Moody studied Chang Chung Hsi (‘theater of the palm of the hand’) style puppetry with the I Wan Jan Traditional Hand Puppet Troupe in Taiwan.
The festival continues on Saturday, February 8 with a performance of “Three Pigs and Other Tales” by Deborah Costine. This performance takes place on a whimsical structure with shadow puppets and includes original stories based on “Three Billy Goats Gruff,” “Three Pigs,” “The Shoemaker and the Elves” and “Stone Soup.” During the performance, the puppeteer is not only working the puppets, but also interacting with the audience from her perch above the stage. It’s an interactive show where children are invited to sit right up on the stage. “What Debbie does with the ‘Shadow Stories’ is so rare, so unique!” one audience member raved. “Her communication with the children is so appropriate that they get the story immediately and are absolutely mesmerized.”
On Saturday, February 15, Tanglewood Marionettes will perform “The Fairy Circus,” which features more than twenty beautifully hand-crafted marionettes showcasing turn-of-the-century-style trick puppetry. Puppets will dance, play instruments, juggle, contort, transform, and ﬂy through the air with the greatest of ease, all to the best-loved music of favorite composers.
The final installment of the Puppetry Festival, Saturday, February 22 at 10:30, is a brand new, original show entitled “The Pirate and the Pea” by Crabgrass Puppet Theater. A swashbuckling pirate and princess adventure, this show features buried treasure, sea monsters and a giant octopus. One audience member raved “this show is fantastic! I loved it and so did the kids.”
Washington Montessori School is located at 240 Litchfield Turnpike (Route 202) in New Preston, CT. For more information, please call 860.868.0551.