"Hansel and Gretel"

December Vacation Week is ALMOST HERE!

Puppet Showplace Theatre's Snowy Stories series continues with...

"Hansel and Gretel" 

by Tanglewood Marionettes
Thurs & Fri, Dec 19 & 20 at 10:30am
Sat & Sun, Dec 21 & 22 at 1pm & 3pm

BUY TICKETS

It's the last week of school before winter break, and we have quite a line-up of holiday fun in store for you! Follow Hansel and Gretel into the forrest for an exciting gingerbread adventure performed by Tanglewood Marionettes this Thursday, Dec 19 through Sunday, Dec 22.

Take a look at all of our upcoming school vacation week performances: VIEW CALENDAR

About the show: In this original adaptation of the classic fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel need to work together, using both brains and bravery, to find their way out of the woods. This beautifully hand-crafted production by Tanglewood Marionettes begins with an interactive puppet demonstration and features enchanting music from Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel" opera.



About the performer: Founded in 1993 by Peter and Anne Schaefer, Tanglewood Marionettes is a nationally touring marionette company whose unique productions have been seen by hundreds of thousands of children and families across the country. With seven shows currently in their repertoire, the company performs year-round at venues ranging from school assemblies to renowned cultural institutions.

Performer Peter Schaefer was born into a Boston-area family of puppeteers and has visited Puppet Showplace since he was a child. After apprenticing with the Bennington Puppets, Peter launched his own company, “Mountain Marionettes,” before joining with Anne Schaefer and fellow Bennington puppeteer Stephen Hancock to form Tanglewood Marionettes.

Performers Jennifer Tebo and Peter Schaefer
Performer Jennifer Tebo discovered her love of puppetry while pursuing a degree in Theater and Classical Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She has been touring with Tanglewood Marionettes since 2004 and plans to spend a lifetime in puppetry.

The company has received two UNIMA awards, puppetry's highest honor, for their productions An Arabian Adventure and The Dragon King.

Tanglewood Marionettes believes above all that a performance is a communal experience, with connections established not only with the performers, but also between members of the audience themselves as they laugh together, gasp together, and cheer together when the good guys prevail! More info: http://tanglewoodmarionettes.com/

Behind the Scenes at PST: Hansel and Gretel

An illustration by Arthur Rackham (1909)

A Fairytale Comes To Life

Welcome back, readers! We thought since it's December, which is basically the most wonderful and magical time of the year, we would show a fairytale this week, one you may remember reading as a child: "Hansel and Gretel."

And who better to put on a show like that than the father-and-son (well, more like sons) team over at National Marionette Theatre, who - for years - have been bringing some of our favorite fairytales to life?

Yes, children and adults alike will be dazzled by the performances of the National Marionette Theatre. You don't believe me? Probably because you've never seen one of their shows. Well, let's take a look at their work, then - past and present.

About The Show...

You all know the story of "Hansel and Gretel," right? Well, in case you don't - Hansel and Gretel are a young brother and sister threatened by a cannibalistic witch living deep in the forest in a house constructed of cake and confectionery. The two children give into their temptations and fall for the witch's trick, but eventually save their lives by outwitting her. Yes, the joke's on the witch when Hansel and Gretel push her into the oven - as she intended to do with them (yuck!).


Hansel and Gretel, lost in the dark forest 

Now, you probably read "Hansel and Gretel" while you were growing up, but you certainly haven't seen it like this - on stage! The National Marionatte Theatre, which is made up of David A. Syrotiak Sr. and his two sons, David J. and Peter, have been dazzling audiences for many, many years now.




Hansel and Gretel, startled by the "Old Woman" 

"Hansel and Gretel" is one of the many fairytales in their rotation and has captured the imagination of audiences for generations. In their adaptation, two master puppeteers bring one of the most famous of the Grimm Brothers' stories to life. The show features exquisitely crafted marionettes, scrolling scenery and the beautiful music of Engelbert Humperdinck - from his 1893 opera, Hänsel und Gretel.

And The Family Of Performers...

As I mentioned before, the National Marionette Theatre is made up of a family of performers - literally. David A. Syrotiak Sr. and his two sons, David J. and Peter, work together to put on some of the most spectacular shows ever.

The Guys
David Sr., a self-made puppeteer, has rightfully won the honorary title of "Master Puppeteer."  He has dedicated his entire life to the field of puppetry, which he came to love at a very young age.  During his teens, he got his first job working with Suzari Marionettes and, later on, worked alongside the Krofft Brothers and Bil Baird during the 1965 Worlds Fair in New York.  David Sr. eventually started doing his own line of work and founded the National Marionette Theatre in 1967.  He has worked and toured extensively in many parts of the world and his work has earned him many awards including the UNIMA award for excellence in the field of puppetry in 1976 for "Art of the Pupeteer" and again in 1997 for his adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast."  As Artistic Director of the National Marionette Theatre, some of David Sr.'s favorite aspects of puppetry are painting, sculpting, and, of course, performing.

David Jr., like his father, has been around puppets all of his life.  When he was just twelve-years-old, he was recruited as an emergency understudy for the National Marionette Theatre's production of "Art of the Pupeteer."  David Jr. formally joined the company in 1984and has toured both in and out of the States.  Along the way, he has taken time off to work with other companies including Vagabond Marionettes, The Bennington Puppets, The Center for Puppetry Arts, and Bil Baird's Marionettes.  Aside from performing and managing the company, David Jr. is also an accomplished wood carver, sculptor, and costumer.


"Sleeping Beauty" and "Pinocchio"
Peter, much like his brother and his father, has also been around puppets all of his life.  Since he was old enough to hold a piece of sandpaper, he has always lent a hand in the shop, building marionettes, sets, and props for the company.  He formally joined the company in 1989 with the production of "Christmas Dream" and has been touring in and out of the States, building puppets, and performing ever since.

Together, the Syrotiaks (a.k.a. National Marionette Theatre) have staged some of the most beautiful shows ever.  In addition to "Hansel and Gretel," they have also brought other fairytales to life, including: "Sleeping Beauty" and "Pinocchio" - both of which have been great successes.  

With the help of intricate designs - in their puppets, sets, and costumes - and (sometimes) music - like using Tchaikovsky's ballet for Sleeping Beauty - their shows are guaranteed to "wow" audiences of all ages.  Correction: they have "wow-ed" audiences of all ages.  

If you have yet to see one of their shows, then we recommend you head on over to PST this week and see "Hansel and Gretel."  You won't be disappointed.  We promise!  Tickets can be purchased online HERE.  

Till next time.  Yours truly, Esra Erol - marketing intern at PST.

Guest Blogger: Author/Illustrator Peter Reynolds

Peter Reynolds

Fuel for a Creative Journey

by Peter H. Reynolds
www.peterhreynolds.com

Award-winning author/illustrator Peter H.Reynolds talks about why he's a supporter of Puppet Showplace Theatre. YOU can support the theater too by donating to our annual winter appeal.
Help keep our theatre open another 39 years! 
MAKE A DONATION

I am tapping away on my computer here in my office with a puppet hanging near me. Reminds me of my childhood and how lucky I was.

First stroke of luck was not being born alone. I arrived with my twin brother, Paul - a friend to talk to, adventure with, protect and defend, listen to, and explore the world with. We also were lucky to be born into a large-ish family of seven, so the house at 26 Samuel Road in Chelmsford, MA was buzzing with activity. Add to this scenario the fact that our parents were a British duo powered by resilience of having survived a world war, our mother a teenager in London and Dad stationed in Egypt. They ventured to Canada and then America in search of stability and peace. They brought with them however the whimsy and humor of Britain, and their love of books. Paul and I grew up in a house filled with inspiration for aspiring storytellers.

One of Peter's Pelham marionettes.  Did you know PST sells
other Pelham puppets in the puppet store?
Call 617-731-6400 for more info!
In my office, hung near my desk is one of the Pelham puppets bought on one of the birthday expeditions our mother would take us on. Year after year it was the same, a trip to Newbury Street in Boston, including lunch at the English Tea Room and the long-awaited visit to F.A.O. Schwartz across the street. There we were allowed to choose a gift, and that gift was always a Pelham puppet. Made in England, these marionettes were really a cut way above the cheap marionettes at the big toy store near our house. Our mother's pride of everything British underlined how special these were, as we gingerly pulled them out of their boxes on the train trundling its way back to the Lowell train station where Dad would be waiting to pick us all up.

Once home, Paul and I would inspect our collection. Over the years we added a beautiful puppet stage which gave us the official platform to share our marionettes with local kids. While we did a pretty impressive job for little kids, it was a trip to the Puppet Showplace in Brookline that blew the lid off things. Wow. We sat in the little theatre, jaws dropped, watching professional puppeteers transforming wood and strings into real worlds - not only with movement and voice, but lighting, sound effects, and music. It was magical! These extraordinary productions also allowed us to meet adults with talent and imagination. It planted that seed in us that when we grew up, we'd like to be just like them.

Marionettes at PST: Hansel & Gretel
by National Marionette Theatre,
Dec 20-23, BUY TICKETS
I like to think that we did indeed grew up to be creative kindred spirits. Not all kids get the experiences that Paul and I got and often grow up as their imagination, bravery and joy fade slowly over time. I am thankful I had a twin to share the creative journey with, a family that supported storytelling and whimsy, and experiences in the community, like Puppet Showplace, to nurture and fuel our imaginations and keep that fuel burning long into our adult years.

I am happy to say that my job as Chief Visionary Officer of FableVision Studios, co-owner of a book and toy shop, The Blue Bunny, and author/illustrator of picture books for all ages - all of these have roots in a creative childhood. I am one of the lucky ones. I do what I love and I love what I do - and that is a wish I have for all children - and adults too!

I'd love to encourage you to support one of my childhood inspirations, Puppet Showplace Theatre. I have personally made a contribution to support the great work of this historic and important gem. I hope you will too.

Vacation week begins with Hansel & Gretel

THIS WEEK AT PST...

Hansel & Gretel
by National Marionette Theatre
Thur & Fri Dec 20 & 21 10:30 AM
Sat & Sun Dec 22 & 23 | 1 PM & 3 PM

BUY TICKETS

Cake and confectionary are the enemy here as an evil witch uses them to trick two siblings into having dinner with her...as the main course!

About the ShowThe story of "Hansel and Gretel" has captured the imagination of audiences for generations. In their adaptation of this classic tale, two master puppeteers of the National Marionette Theatre bring the most famous of the Grimm Brother’s stories to life.  Featuring exquisitely crafted marionettes, scrolling scenery, and the beautiful music of Engelbert Humperdinck, "Hansel and Gretel" is sure to delight adults and children alike!
Marionettes, recommended ages 5 & up

About the PerformerNational Marionette Theatre is one of the oldest continually running marionette theaters in the United States. Founded in 1967 by artistic director David A. Syrotiak, this award-winning company has been entertaining audiences around the world with their extraordinary productions for over forty years. Noted for their amazing manipulation technique and imaginative fully staged productions, National Marionette Theater is committed to bringing you the very best in family entertainment. The company has received critical acclaim both here in the United States and abroad and was the first American Marionette Theater to receive the prestigious UNIMA award for excellence in puppetry.  

David and Peter Syrotiak have been building and performing with the company since their teenage years. As the sons of artistic director David Syrotiak the two brothers have been around puppetry all their lives. Professionally they have over fifty years of combined performance experience between them. The two are dedicated to keeping the tradition of professional puppetry alive in the United States.

More about… “Hansel and Gretel” by National Marionette Theatre


Wednesday and Thursday | January 5 & 6 | 10:30AM

Saturday and Sunday | January 8 & 9 | 1PM & 3PM


About the show: In the newest production from National Marionette Theatre, two master puppeteers bring the most famous of the Grimm Brothers’ stories to life. Featuring exquisitely crafted marionettes, scrolling scenery and the beautiful music of Engelbert Humperdinck. Performed with marionettes. This show is recommended for ages 5 & up.


About National Marionette Theatre: National Marionette Theatre is one of the oldest continually running marionette theaters in the United States. Founded in 1967 by artistic director David A. Syrotiak, this award-winning company has been entertaining audiences around the world with their extraordinary productions for over forty years. Noted for their amazing manipulation technique and imaginative fully staged productions, National Marionette Theater is committed to bringing you the very best in family entertainment.


The company has received critical acclaim both here in the United States and abroad and was the first American Marionette Theater to receive the prestigious UNIMA award for excellence in puppetry.


National Marionette Theatre [official site]

BUY TICKETS

More About... National Marionette Theatre

NATIONAL MARIONETTE THEATRE is one of the oldest continually running marionette theaters in the United States. Founded in 1967 by artistic director David A. Syrotiak, this award-winning company has been entertaining audiences around the world with their extraordinary productions for over forty years. Noted for their amazing manipulation technique and imaginative fully staged productions, National Marionette Theater is committed to bringing you the very best in family entertainment. The company has received critical acclaim both here in the United States and abroad and was the first American Marionette Theater to receive the prestigious UNIMA award for excellence in puppetry.



More About... Hansel & Gretel


The story of Hansel and Gretel has captured the imagination of audiences for generations. In National Marionette Theatre's newest production, two master puppeteers bring the most famous of the Grimm Brother’s stories to life. Featuring exquisitely crafted marionettes, scrolling scenery and the beautiful music of Engelbert Humperdinck, Hansel and Gretel is sure to delight audiences of all ages!

BUY TICKETS

Wed, July 14 @ 10:30 AM
Wed, July 14 @ 1:00 PM
Wed, July 15 @ 10:30 AM
Wed, July 15 @ 1:00 PM