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St. Ann's Puppet Lab, which is celebrating its 18th anniversary, is an experimental haven for puppet theater. The Labapalooza! Festival embraces a variety of new puppetry works developed in the Lab over the course of a year, presented in two Programs A and B. This year's festival artists explore the life-long friendship of Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray; hitch a ride on a dirigible; follow a humble dot on a journey for independence; and bring a National Geographic episode to the stage.
When the the prosperous town of Hamelin is suddenly overrun with rodents, can a mysterious stranger lure the pests away with only a simple song? From the twitch of a rat's tail to the grandiose proclamations of a greedy mayor, this retelling of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale features the intricate craftsmanship of over 120 exquisite marionettes (and 300 puppet rats!). From Milan's famed Carlo Colla & Sons Marionette Company (Sleeping Beauty, New Vic 2013), 19th century artistry takes center stage in this visually-stunning production.
A star falls from the evening sky and so begins Pretzel's incredible journey. A most chivalrous worm if ever there was one, he must climb a spider's thread, cross the chamber of dreams and explore the ocean depths to restore the star to its rightful place. Ingenious puppets of all sizes and a fabulous musical score animate an unforgettable adventure in Théâtre de l'Œil's The Star Keeper.
Tracing patterns of inequality, the play reflects on justice, guilt, punishment, and the conflict between free will and fate. The underlying philosophical question is of whether the so-called real world is actually an illusion, a dream from which we will wake some day. And if this is indeed some kind of test where our true character will be revealed when we die, how should we act here and now?