Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Opening Shows

The opening ceremony begins with a brief introduction from our president, Anna Vargas. She was extremely brief. The staff of the festival was presented as a group and named quickly, then the artistic director, Paul Mesner, laid down a few laws and introduced the first performance: “You Can Learn a Lot from a Bug” by Randel Mcgee who is a talented children’s ventriloquist. It was delightful. The audience of about 380 puppeteers played the role of children in it…singing along and such. I would love to see him perform in front of kids. He is very good and his child-like dragon Groark is extremely cute.

The second show was to be conducted 30 minutes after the first which gave us all gab time. I signed up for three volunteering slots and when I got back to my seat, Anna Vargas was there chatting with Peter and Debbie Allen. She turned to me and I got some highlights on the regional directors meeting tomorrow. PofA have decided to relax the restrictive rule of requiring 10 PofA members for guild status. Going forward, you can be an official guild with only 3 PofA members. This is very exciting news! Boise, Spokane, Victoria, Tacoma, Montana, to name a few, can all become guilds now if they want!

The second show was introduced as expeditiously as the first. It was “Darwin the Dinosaur” by Corbin Arts. In the first five minutes, I heard a puppeteer exclaim nearby, “This is why I come here!” and I couldn’t agree more. It was LED puppets…you know like those LED strings of lights you can wrap your bicycle in? They had taken those and built all the characters from them. It was totally pantomime and manipulation. It was set to modern orchestral pieces of famous soundtracks and it was…Wow! I will admit there were a few slow points, but the visuals made up for it and it had a sort of “Man and his dog” story to it that was interesting. It was the two flying pterodactyls in the beginning that knocked my Vibrams off. The manipulation was so good you could totally not tell they were not flying through the wind. The end did throw me though…light saber duel…it was like—huh? And I was distracted by thinking, I wonder how they got permission to do that?

At the reception following, I got the first picture of the festival with Bernice Silver, the Queen of Potpourri:
 She's 97, a puppeteer and she told me herself she has plans to go Kayaking soon! She is 100% positive and upbeat at all times.  That's the secret, you know.

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