Go behind the scenes with Artistic Director, Roxie Myhrum!

Hi there, Puppet friends! Have you heard about our upcoming show "Where I Live/La ou j'habite" by the Canadian company Des mots d'la dynamite? Not quite sure what to expect? Well, you're in luck! Our fabulous Artistic Director Roxie Myhrum has graciously agreed to do an interview highlighting some key aspects of the show as well as answering our burning questions about her own artistic vision. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy an exclusive interview with Roxie!

Where I Live (Là où j’habite) by Words of Dynamite (Des mots d'la dynamite):

What drew you to this show and why did you choose it for the "Puppets Around the World" series at Puppet Showplace?

I first encountered this wonderful company at the Puppets in the Green Mountains festival in Vermont. There, they performed a work called "Scenes from a Tree." The piece was delightful and interdisciplinary, filled with gentle music, soft textures, and beautiful visual tableaux. Since then, I have wanted to present this group at Puppet Showplace. When I heard that they were planning a U.S. tour for their newest piece, "Where I Live," I started working with other presenters and the Quebec Delegation to bring them to the Northeast. 

"Where I Live" is recommended for children ages 18 months to 5 years. What do you think they will enjoy about it?

Nathalie Derome, the artistic director of this company and one of the show's performers, is passionate about exploring how very young children see and experience the world. This show was developed in partnership with a Montreal daycare center, and the performers channel children's inquisitive nature as they explore the many places they call their home.  The experience is very gentle and inviting, but also very profound. The puppets, props, and scenic elements are all made from familiar materials easily available to families, so the creative experience can continue after you have left the theater. Natalie's philosophy is that theater can make ordinary experiences more like visual poetry, and make the world seem full of wonder. 

Des mots d'la dynamite are from Montreal and this is actually their Boston debut! What do you enjoy about art from other countries and cultures? Why do you think it's important to bring multicultural art to Boston families?

I have attended several international puppetry festivals, and one of my favorite experiences is attending performances where I do not speak the language. In those situations, the art itself speaks directly to my soul, and I feel connected to the story on a visceral, emotional level. 

Of course, some puppetry traditions are very culturally specific. In some countries puppeteers perform sacred stories for religious worship, or engage in political satire through street theater. In America, puppetry is most commonly associated with children's entertainment, but our artists draw on many diverse global traditions to inspire their work. 

I hope that when families encounter this series, they will be inspired to learn more about the specific cultures where these stories and styles originated. I also hope they will be inspired to reflect on their own heritage, and to imagine new ways art can be used to bring people together in our diverse community.

Is there anything else you think people should know about this show and why they should come and see it?

This performance will be a welcoming environment for families with very young children. When I asked Natalie more about what it's like to perform for this demographic, she wrote to me, "We are not fazed when, during the show, a child stands up, needs to say something to an adult, or even starts to cry. On the contrary, young children challenge the performers to listen actively and respond openly. We are delighted to perform for these candid spectators who have yet to learn about theater etiquette or how to behave at cultural events."

What do you love about bringing puppetry and theater to such young audiences?

We once had a young patron respond to a show by saying "I hope I remember this forever." I want kids to treasure their experiences at our theater, and that the characters and stories they encounter here will to spark joy and imagination in their lives.

How does it feel to be at the helm during Puppet Showplace's 40th Anniversary season? What is special to you about this theater?

I'm a bit of a history geek, so I have enjoyed taking time this season to look through our archives. Our predecessors did so much to get us where we are today, and I feel a great sense of responsibility to build on their work. There is no place like Puppet Showplace in Boston, and I am thrilled whenever new fans find us and become a part of our family! 

Fun Fact, you speak French and your husband is French! Tell us something you enjoy about French culture--food, music, art, language, etc:

Correction, I am LEARNING French. But I do love French theater, which is very stylized and filled with wit and wordplay. I also enjoy visiting my relatives in the South of France and sitting down to big family dinners with many generations around the table. I'm going to the Castelier festival in Montreal this March, which will be my first trip to Quebec / French Canada, and I am so excited. Both France and Quebec are HUGE leaders in the world of puppetry arts!

Also, be sure to check out this gorgeous video preview:

Where I Live/Ou la j'habite- Interdisciplinary show for the little ones (18 months to 5 yo) Created by Des mots d'la dynamite (Montréal, 2013) Recorded at the Vancouver International Children's Festival (May 2014)

We are very grateful to Roxie for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions for us. As you can see, "Where I Live-Ou la j'habite" is sure to be an incredible show and a wonderful addition to our "Puppets Around the World" series. Reminder: There are only THREE performances of this beautiful piece so get your tickets early!

Wednesday, March 11th @ 10:30am
Thursday, March 12th @ 10:30am
Friday, March 13th @ 10:30am


NEXT UP: The classic tale of "Rumplestiltskin" will be performed by DreamTale Puppets starting on Saturday, March 14th! See you soon...