My New Favorite Thing: Dramaturgy

Hello Puppet Fans,

From Left: Phil Berman, the beautiful ME of coarse,
and Brenda Huggins,  my puppeteer!
I have really enjoyed writing to all of you these last few weeks with my research and new things I have learned! I was talking with my friend Phil Berman who is a theatre artist and dramaturg, and I wanted to know what a dramaturg IS. He told me that a Dramaturg is someone who researches the background of a play, and the history of the different elements of the story, including performances of the play through out history.

Wait...I'm a dramaturg! I have been researching our shows at PST with all of you! That means we are all dramaturgs! As Puppet Showplace Theatre's Monster in Residence/Dramaturg, I have begun dramaturging our latest show, Jack and the Beanstalk.

Jack and the Beanstalk
by Crabgrass Theatre
August 15-August 18 | 10:30am & 1pm

This premier performance of Jack and the Beanstalk starts tomorrow at PST by Crabgrass Theatre.

Trading his cow for a bag of magic beans, Jack takes a risk for adventure! On his journey he takes a chance on fame and fortune by battling a hungry giant.  This hungry giant is Jacks obstacle in the story and creates tension. Whether it's a film, book, animation or theatre every performance is unique and portrays the giant differently.

 Here are some of my favorite Giants:

In the first clip,  the giant is extra terrifying because he is after one of our favorite characters of all time (and personal hero) Kermit. We are also led to believe we are watching this live, so we fear for Kermit's life every second as if we are experiencing this with him. When the Giant does appear, his size is unexpected in comparison to Kermit! It is even more surprising that he is human and not a puppet. In the end. the giant says people often come to visit, but they never stay.  Therefore, we are left with the idea that the Giant might not have wanted to eat Kermit and just wanted company.

This next video is a clip from "Mickey and the Beanstalk" by Walt Disney in 1947. In this adaption of Jack and the Beanstalk it is actually Mickey, Donald and Goofy on the adventure instead of Jack. In this version, the Giant has magic powers! These magic powers give him another advantage besides his strength and size over Mickey, Donald and Goofy. However, he isn't smart enough to remember the magic words. Mickey and his friends have intelligence on there side! Brains always wins. 

 This children's musical of "Jack and the Beanstalk" by Celebration Iowa does the opposite of what the first video of Kermit. In this version, all the characters are humans and the Giant is a body puppet. The most villianous part about the character is his voice. This Giant has a deep, dark, booming loud voice to carry across the theatre. Since this is a musical, the use of sound was most important. 

This is an illustration from "Jack and the Beanstalk" from the page of a book. When you read, your imagination creates the scenes in your mind. Nothing is more powerful than the Giant we all dream up in our mind from reading the classic tale ourselves. Here is one representation of the Giant chasing after Jack as he tries to escape down the Beanstalk. To read this version by author Eric Braun and Illustrator Shawna J.C. Tenney go here.

P.S. I cant wait to see how Crabgrass Theatre portrays their giant character. I hope to see you there.


Bella Monster...PST Monster in Residence/Guest Blogger/Dramaturg!