Sorry, folks. You missed it.
Curious, but without knowing very much about her work, I went to see puppeteer/artist/director Theodora Skipitares’s latest, “The Traveling Players present The Women Of Troy.” Unfortunately, I caught this beauty towards the end of its run (October 8 to October 25 as part of the La Mama Puppet Series 3), so the window to peer pressure you to see it has passed. But I will say this: just when you think you’ve seen enough adaptations of The Trojan Women, it’s nice to be reminded that you’re wrong.
The puppets defy easy explanation– stunning yet seemingly simple, without a lot of bells & whistles, they each communicate character with an incredible range of emotion. Some of the puppets are strapped to the front of the puppeteers, while others (the massive ones), are rolled out on huge platforms, birthing smaller puppets from their bellies. The script is a tight collage, with testimonials of contemporary female activists sprinkled throughout the narrative of Euripides’s play. The NY Times thankfully gave this “dark gem” a strong review, so check that out if you’re curious to hear more about this engaging production.
And then, go straight to the source. Her work is worth a lengthy gander.
But, this Out & About won’t leave you hanging: there’s more puppet theater productions where that came from, as the Puppet Series continues. From October 29 to November 8, Aphids Puppet Theatre of Australia will perform “A Quarreling Pair,” three miniature puppet plays inspired by the work of the same name by American avantgarde writer Jane Bowles. From November 12 to 29, Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre will perform Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” on three trays with three puppeteers and 22 eight-inch actors.
And while you’re at it, if you have a few extra bones to fork over, why not join the Celebration of Ellen Stewart on November 1st and give thanks for the lady who makes it possible to see this exceptional work, weekend after weekend?