Last year we added a new field trip to the schedule. It was a trip to see a puppet show, and it was my favorite trip of the summer. I was very pleased to see it on the trip schedule again this year, and Keayra and I had a lot of fun with the 10 campers we chaperoned on the trip to see the puppets today at the Puppet Showplace Theatre in Brighton.
The man who ran the show did a long introductory bit about how some simple puppets work. He was very funny, and had all the kids laughing before his show even started. The show itself was spectacular, with beautifully painted sets and intricate marionettes. The puppeteers masterfully guided the various characters through the storyline. All the campers were transfixed by the actions on the stage. One of the most exciting parts of the show was when the main puppet made his way through the audience and climbed onto one of the parents there watching the show. Other exciting special effects included a giant spider, and an evil snake that was beheaded in a bright flash. Fortunately none of the campers were afraid of the monsters onstage, but rather found them exciting.
I think that puppets have a certain magical quality to them when handled by master puppeteers. They engage the imagination of the viewer and can employ a special brand of humour that live actors can't pull off. Watching a puppet show is a lot like watching a great cartoon, but with the intimacy of the show being live and in the room with you. I hope that in future years we can work with the Puppet Showplace Theatre in a workshop setting where the campers can learn puppet mastery skills. Until then, they can play with puppets on their own time. It's a lot of fun.