Behind the Scenes at PST: Magic Soup & Other Stories

It's Brad!
Not Just Soup, Magic Soup

It's official, folks.  We are just a few short days away from the biggest of all feasts: Thanksgiving - and what better way to celebrate than to continue this year's Feast of Food and Folktales with The Magic Soup & Other Stories  Put another notch on your belt (or switch to elastic waistband pants) because the show returns to PST the day after Thanksgiving and we'll be adding "soup" to your leftovers.      

About the Show...

The Magic Soup & Other Stories is a collection of six short stories - “The Naked Truth and Resplendent Parable,” “The Egg Seller,” “The Very Small House,” “A Coat Poverty,” “Pleasing All the World,” and “The Magic Soup" - all of which are taken from the vibrant Jewish folk traditions of Eastern Europe.  In these short stories, everybody is looking for something - whether it's a bowl of soup or some peace and quiet - and it is those with wit, a sense of humor, and imagination who have a better chance of making their dreams come true.

...And Its Mechanics

I'm sure you're all familiar with our artist-in-residence, Brad Shur.  Well, since I profiled him for "Behind the Scenes at PST: Dr. Doohickey" just a few weeks ago, I thought it would be neat-o to discuss the work he puts into his puppetry - because it's pretty awesome.

Brad using shadow puppets
As of I mentioned before, The Magic Soup & Other Stories is made up of six short stories and they're all unique in their use of puppetry.  In "The Naked Truth and Resplendent Parable," Brad uses table top and rod puppets.  In "The Egg Seller," shadow puppets.  In "The Very Small House," table top, hand, and mouth puppets.  In "A Coat Poverty," shadow puppets.  In "Pleasing All the World," table top puppets.  And in "The Magic Soup," table top puppets.

Now, having named all these styles, you're probably wondering: how do they work?  Well, let's take a look at a few examples, starting with the shadow puppets.  Brad begins by creating his puppets digitally, designing them on his computer and adjusting their sizes accordingly - comparing one puppet to the other so they can all work together.  After he prints, then cuts them out, Brad places his finished work on the over-head projector, which allows the puppets to create large, blown-up shadows.

The reason why Brad uses shadow puppets in, let's say, "The Egg Seller," is because he wanted to create the broad and abstract locations that exist within the story.  With shadow puppets, he is able to do just that - create a sense of place.

As for table top puppets - which you'll see a lot of throughout the show - Brad uses paper mache cast-over foam, which he shapes into any form he so desires, to create a wide variety of cast members, including monsters!  He constructs them in such a way that he is able to be in control - of one part in particular: the head, which he uses to create simple yet elegant and powerful movements.

One of Brad's puppets: The Ugly, Naked Truth!
And what of the characters in The Magic Soup?  Brad had one goal in mind: to transform the space and make magical things come out of said space.  In other words, he took everyday objects like coats and trash cans and transformed them to make his characters exist in a magical, story land.  And it worked!   Brad engineered different materials to look out-of-this-world.  Trust me - when you come to see The Magic Soup, you will find that mundane objects have become magical.

In honor of the Feast of Food and Folktales (and Thanksgiving), be sure to come on down to PST this week to see Brad perform in The Magic Soup & Other Stories.  It's a show you won't want to miss!  In case you haven't done so already, tickets can be purchase online HERE.

'Till next time, Fellow Readers!  Yours truly, Esra Erol - marketing intern at PST.