Mermaid Parade organizers host international puppet show
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Brooklynites can let their imaginations run wild on March 21 when a colorful collection of puppets and papier-mâché figures come to life during the virtual puppet slam “Puppets Come Home” in honor of World Childhood Day. the puppet, said the organizer of the event.
“There are going to be different styles – hand puppets, Italian puppets, stop motion,” said Brendan Schweda, the show’s producer and regional director of the nonprofit Puppeteers of America.
The international puppet show, hosted by Coney Island United States, will feature performances from Kenya, Costa Rica, Turkey, Chile, Israel, Thailand and beyond, with each sketch using a different medium, such as masks and stop motion videos.
The performances will also cover a variety of topics ranging from ridiculous to serious. One skit features a character doing a circus cycle routine, while another will depict the life cycle of an ant colony, the organizer said.
“[It’s about] how they treat the members of their community who die, how they evolve, ”said Schweda. “You see a life cycle that is not too different from what we are going through”
The puppet show will also include an informal tour of the Coney Island USA building – where the arts organization has its museum, theater and ‘freak bar’ – as well as a chat with Paul Zaloom, an actor and puppeteer who performed with the famous Bread and Puppet troupe.
The “adults only” program, which will be broadcast at 9 p.m. on Coney Island USA website, is part of a century-old tradition of puppetry on Coney Island, Schweda said.
Puppets first arrived at People’s Playground in the mid to late 1800s as the popular burlesque puppet routine Punch and Judy, which began in England in the 17th century.
As times evolved, the puppet evolved. In the early 1970s, Bread and Puppet presented avant-garde puppet shows tackling political themes using large papier-mâché puppets inside its short-lived Surf Avenue theater.
Schweda said that “Puppets Come Home” – a series he has hosted with Coney Island USA since 2018 – aims to carry on Bread and Puppet’s legacy on Coney Island by showcasing puppet innovation from around the world.
“My main motivation is to produce these works, to introduce people and to give a platform to new cutting edge puppeteers, ”he said.
The puppets come home to Coney Island USA [www.coneyisland.com/puppets, (718) 372-5159]. March 21 at 9 p.m. Only adults.