I went to check it out and was absolutely floored as I walked into the producer's living room and smackdab into the puppet stage. All the lights and painted scenery completely sold me. It was so completely professional looking I just goggled at it.
I had just finished work with a client I cut loose because of his absolute ineptness and this guy was the polar opposite. Big and gregarious and friendly and insanely talented he proudly showed me the puppets he had made and I became even more enchanted. I was initially disappointed they weren't "muppet style" muppets. These are more the classic `Punch and Judy" type of puppets but they're absolutely gorgeous. Theo (the producer) has been working on this show for a long time.
Anyway, we instantly liked each other and I was signed right up.
Lisa dropped me off for my second rehearsal and I asked her to come in and take a look at the stage and the puppets and to meet Theo...and stayed. She's now the official swing puppeteer.
All the other puppeteers are really great as well. Two are clowns (no, really...they went to clown school and everything,) one is a freelance artist and another is a photographer. A really fun group of people to be with. I've missed being in a show...I haven't been in one since 2000.
The show? Oh yeah...the show is Cinderella. It's 33 minutes long and rather than each puppeteer being cast for one or two specific characters we're all rolling around in the back passing off puppets, dropping the scenery, opening and closing curtains...it's like a barely controlled roller derby chaos in the back. We're playing to a soundtrack...something else I was initially disappointed with...though now I realize the complexity of the production...trying to do voices on top of the whole thing would be utterly disasterous. It would be Just Too Much.
We have a few more weeks of rehearsals and then we have some performances in Oakland and then a few in San Francisco. Looking forward to it.
Check it out:
Zanzibar Puppet Theater
Pretty cool eh?