One person’s trash is another’s puppet

Found Ob­ject Pup­pet Im­prov hits the Walk­ing Fish Theatre this week­end, and it’s quite a unique show.

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 The show is in­ten­ded for ages 14 and up.

Star Staff Re­port­er Hay­den Mit­man can be con­tac­ted at 215-354-3124 or hmit­

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