When you think of puppets, what comes to mind? Oscar the Grouch shouting from his garbage can? Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy?
What about a water bottle or a broken plastic rod?
They’re not typical puppets, but at the upcoming summer showcase presented by Puppet Manuelfesto, these objects will take on a life of their own at the Walking Fish Theatre July 21.
Martina Plag, curator of the showcase, said that the show will feature a wide array of acts, but her group, the Found Object Puppet Improv (FOPI) will give life to found objects during the show.
In fact, the show will be hosted by puppeteer Lorna Howley and Rodocchio, a found object puppet.
“He’s just a rod and an eyeball that fell off of an old puppet,” said Plag. “And he has some feelings about that.”
The idea for found object puppetry isn’t new, she said, but while joking around with other puppeteers, Plag said she realized that jokes she and her friends made off-hours could become a show.
“We would just find objects people left behind after shows…We didn’t invent it [found object puppetry], but there’s just something beautiful in the minimalism of it.”
In this spirit, Plag put out a call for performers from all over the city that could be part of the show, and she obtained a grant from the Puppet Slam Network to bring a series of shows to the Walking Fish Theatre.
During the performance, along with the work of FOPI, there will be live music, shadow puppetry and even a werewolf reading Shakespeare. She said it’s not the sort of show one might associate with puppets.
“We call it ‘adult-friendly’ because, well, if someone drops an ‘f-bomb,’ we just go with it,” she said.
Michelle Pauls, managing artistic director at Walking Fish, said the show is intended to be thought provoking, but not necessarily provocative.
“The shadow puppetry, I can’t tell you how memorable that is….I think it’s going to be a great show,” Pauls said.
Throughout the evening, Plag said, there will be about 10 different acts, and she hopes the performances resonate with audiences after the night ends.
“I hope to show gems. Something to get them [the audience] to laugh or to cry or to just think about something,” she said.
Performances will be held at the Walking Fish Theatre at 2509 Frankford Ave., on Saturday July 21, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets cost $15, or $12 in advance at www.bsomeday.org. The show is intended for ages 14 and up.
Star Staff Reporter Hayden Mitman can be contacted at 215-354-3124 or firstname.lastname@example.org.