From The Pen of Bella Monster

Welcome Bella fans!

Stephanie Gibree
Animator and Intern at PST!
Today is usually the day Bella Monster makes her 'My New Favorite Thing' post, but this week I am going to post on her behalf. My name is Stephanie Gibree and I am a recent college graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design from the Animation Department.  I have a passion for children’s media and a love of bringing my wildest imaginations to life through animating. I have also been lucky enough to have the privilege to intern at the amazing Puppet Showplace Theatre this summer!

As the Marketing and Graphic Design intern I had many projects to bounce from. I had a blast working on them all, such as helping design flyers for upcoming shows and animating the Puppet Showplace Logo for a future video channel.

I was always hesitant about taking on an internship in fear that I wouldn't have any active responsibility and would be somewhere getting people coffee. I am thankful I chose Puppet Showplace Theatre because I had so many opportunities to try something new and I learned so much in this short period of time.

I also made a lot of great connections such as participating and showing my work in this summer's Puppet Slam. I admired every piece and was grateful to be a part of something so one of a kind.

Yes, that’s who I was about 60% of the time.

Though I have to confess that I have been leading a double life these past few months. You see, I am also the voice and heart behind Bella Monster's weekly blog posts, 'My New Favorite Thing'. I have been living Bella's social media life and Monstering all over Brookline! I have been Monster tweeting, Monster blogging, Monster photographing and Monster living, loving and laughing!

My goal in these weekly blog posts was to present information about upcoming shows in a way that puppet fans would admire. If someone is visiting our blog, that means they love puppetry so why not let the puppet do the talking? 

I hope you have enjoyed reading Bella's posts as much as I have enjoyed writing them. It's been a pleasure investigating the world of puppetry with the curious, fabulous, and loving Bella Monster. Bella has a joy for life and that joy is contagious. I can’t say I will miss her, only because I will never leave her behind.

Thank you to everyone at Puppet Showplace Theatre who helped give me an amazing internship. I learned a lot from all of you. I am very thankful for the opportunity. It was a great summer!

With Love,
 Stephanie Gibree and Bella Monster


Jack Tuesday: Fairytale Investigator
By LionHeart Puppets
Saturday, September 8, 2012 @ 1:00pm

The puppet investigation continues with Jack Tuesday, Fairytale Investigator! For our last case, me and Bella would like to tell you a little about this weeks up coming show. Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep and doesn't know where to find them...But Jack Tuesday's the guy who can figure out why someone would try to hide them! Audiences will love this original "whodunit" mystery show, starring a cast of familiar storybook characters and the world's greatest (and only?) fairytale detective. Hope to see you there!

My New Favorite Thing: Puppetry Festivals!

Hello to all my favorite people,

Fall is steadily approaching! It's almost time for playing in the leaves, apple picking, pumpkin carving and Oh! Halloween! Where you can dress up like spooky, scary things! I'm a monster and supposedly I am scary but Monster is just my last name. I am filled with sweetness like all of you. I use Halloween as an opportunity to show everyone how adorable I am.

However, my absolute favorite thing about Fall is our Fall Fairy tale Festival, which is a collection of fairytale puppet shows presented throughout the season of Fall.

Fall Fairy Tale Festival
September 1 - October 14

To kickstart this year's event is "Cinderella" by Tanglewood Marionettes. The classic story we all know and love told in wit and style, and featuring your favorite characters in a whole new look of lavishly costumed marionettes!

Cinderella by Tanglewood Marionettes
Sat 9/1/2012 & Sun 9/2/2012 | 1pm & 3pm
Buy Tickets!

I am so excited for our upcoming event that festivals are my new favorite thing! So what is a festival and what does it mean to be festive? A festival is a day or period of celebration. We do lots of celebrating at PST for all the performers who put on great shows for everyone. To be festive is to have a joyous or merry mood. I am always full of joy! I think I have been participating in more festivals than I realize... 

If you love celebrating the art of puppetry with merry or joyous people, you might be interested in some of these other puppet festivals.

Puppeteers of America Festivals
September 7-9, 2012

Puppet Festivals are Awesome! They also have great opportunities for performers to do slam pieces, network, and volunteer. There is a regional festival happening this September 7-9 in New York, lets go!

Puppets In The Green Mountains
September 22-30, 2012
Annual Puppet festival held every other year in Sothern Vermont. Check out the site for more info.

The Grand Auditorium Puppet Festival
October 5-7, 2012
Set in Ellesworth, Maine with performances by FrogTown Mountain Puppeteers, Tanglewood Marionettes, Nappy's Puppets and The Manipulators it is the ultimate celebration for any puppet fan. More info at www.grandonline.org.  

In the mean time, lets try and make every day a festival and be merry together!

The always joyous,
Bella Monster  

My New Favorite Thing: Dragons

Hi Everyone!
I am so excited for our puppet show this weekend, "Sir George and The Dragon" by Pumpernickel Puppets. What is better to talk about than dragons? I am curious to learn about the history of dragons with all of you. Especially, since they are a kind of monster. Being descendants of my people it is my duty to educate all of us. To the library!

Different stories of dragons appear throughout every culture in history. Dragons were often an answer to the unknown... During the time that the Earth was believed to be flat, people thought that dragons were on the edge of the Earth, waiting to consume anyone who dared travel that far into the sea. This idea stopped people from exploring the unexplored. On maps, these areas had the warning, "Here be dragons" printed on them.

Being one of the more popular fantasy creatures, dragons often appeared in mythology. In most myths, dragons are the keeper of some treasure. To retrieve the prize the dragon must be slain! This is the challenge our character, Sir George faces, in Sir George and the Dragon.

Sir George and The Dragon is a story that began in the Middle Ages and has been retold for centuries! In this version by Pumpernickel Puppets, we meet a clumsy dog, a babysitter named Zelda, a silly bat and a lovable dragon to help George along the way.

Sir George and The Dragon
by Pumpernickel Puppets
August 25 @ 10:30-11:30 am and 1:00-2:00 pm
Buy Tickets!

Dragons are often still portrayed in stories. Here are some of the dragons portrayed by the story tellers of our time.

Uncle Deadly from the Muppet Show

The Muppet Show transforms the idea of fearsome dragons into those who believe in the power of friendship. Jim Henson believed in individuality in the way that Miss Piggy is a pig but she is beautiful. Vincent Price and Uncle Deadly both have a spooky reputation but as Jim believed, don't judge a book by its cover.

Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon

This animation makes everyone want a pet dragon of there own! The animators on this film brought there lovable dragons to life by giving them cat like qualities. They aren't terrifying monsters! Just big cats with wings... that happen to breathe fire. Making the dragons pets, makes them like children. They are innocent and only know how to love, like Toothless, the dragon in this video.

The Hungarian Horntail from Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

The Harry Potter series is known to use ancient myth and folklore as inspiration to create the world of the story. It is clear in this scene of Harry battling what is called, a Hungarian Horntail dragon, that they took the Medieval approach. Never fear! Harry Potter does persevere.

However, a Bella Monster is still the best monster. Don't you agree?

Bella Monster

Happily Ever After Awaits At PST!


Sir George and The Dragon by Pumpernickel Puppets
John McDonough
Aug 25 | 10:30am and 1:00pm

Buy Tickets!

Attention Lords and Ladies we are inviting you to step back in time with us at PST as we travel to medieval lands for this week's puppet show.  Here be good entertainment!

About the Show: Join an adventurous princess as she journeys to Mystery Mountain to visit the Great Green Dragon. Along the way you'll meet Zelda the babysitter, a silly bat, Sir George and his clumsy dog, and of course the loveable dragon. Will Sir George slay the dragon? Not to worry, everything ends happily in this fun show. 

About the Performer: The Pumpernickel Puppets are the creation of John McDonough of Worcester, Massachusetts. Four years old when he saw his first puppet show, John immediately knew that he wanted to be a puppeteer, and he never considered anything else.
By his teens he was presenting shows all over the New England area. The Pumpernickel Puppets have had the honor of appearing at The Puppet Showplace Theatre, Boston Children’s Museum, The Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., The Cultural Olympiad at The Center For Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia, and the prestigious International Festival of Puppet Theatre sponsored by the Jim Henson Foundation at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre in New York.
For each production, John creates all of his own puppets, which range from small hand puppets to larger than life-sized figures. He also manipulates the entire cast alone and
provides the voices as well.

My New Favorite Thing: Middle Eastern Music

Welcome Puppet Fans!                                                                
I am here to give you your weekly addition of me, Bella Monster with my new favorite thing. An Arabian Adventure is playing this week at PST! This is a tale of a Persian Prince imprisoned for his love of a beautiful princess who must stop at nothing to save her from a terrible fate. The soundtrack for the show is traditional Middle Eastern music that transports you to another time and place entirely new. Join me on this adventure!

An Arabian Adventure 

Aug 1, 2012 - Aug 4, 2012 

The music is hypnotizing and exotic. I wondered what made it so different from the music I am familiar with? My curiosity led me to my new favorite thing, Middle Eastern music! Here's what I learned. Traditional Eastern music uses what is called, Maquams, melodic modes which are said to evoke a different emotion in each listener. Each time we hear these maquams we all feel a different feeling, unique to who we are! Isn't that amazing that we can all hear the same sound but have a different feeling?

Our music or Western music uses chords but traditional Eastern music will have one instrument carry the melody while the others layer melody scraps or rhythm segments over it. When we listen to this we are absorbing new musical rhythms, musical notes and melodies. Listen to the arabic instruments in this video below. How do these new sounds make you feel?

Here are some of the most popular instruments in traditional Middle Eastern music seen in the video. 

Oud - A string instrument with 11 strings and no frets.

Riq- The Arabic tambourine.

Darbuka- A popular percussion instrument.

Ney - Resembles the flute in instrument and sound but is very difficult to play.
I can't wait to experience the exciting arabian tale this week at PST with the beautiful instruments I just learned about. Hope to see you there! 

Bella Monster

My New Favorite Thing: Glove Puppetry!

Hello Puppet fans,
It's your favorite time of the week, "My New Favorite Thing" from me, your favorite puppet, Bella Monster! This week I want to tell to you about glove puppetry. Glove puppetry is totally awesome! It's one of the most recognizable and common forms of puppetry. Being one of the oldest forms of theatre, you might recognize it as one of the most famous puppetry acts, Punch and Judy.

Brad Shur, my friend and artist in residence here at PST, is teaching a class for adults this Summer on glove puppetry. (photo right)  I wanted to know what glove puppets are all about, and boy did I find out!

Glove Puppetry Boot Camp
Instructor: Brad Shur, Artist in Residence

I took the class and can now unleash the expressive power of my hands in glove puppetry, like a pro. I also got to interview my pal, Brad for all of you to become experts on glove puppetry too. 

Here is what the glove puppet master had to say:

Me: Hi Brad!
Brad: Hey Bella

Me: When did you know you wanted to be a puppeteer?
Brad: I grew up watching the Muppets and the Fraggles and Dark Crystal, and I always loved to act and write and make things. By the time I got to high school, I realized that I could do all those things in one job as a puppeteer and be a part of the art form that I'd loved so much.

Me: What is a glove puppet?
Brad: A glove puppet is a very old style of puppet that fits over the puppeteers hand. The fingers are used to move the head and hands of the puppet. It's called a glove puppet because it fits over your hand like a glove.

Me: I'm a mouth and rod puppet, what's the difference between a glove puppet and the kind of puppet that I am?
Brad: Glove puppets mostly don't move their mouths like you do. They use body language like clowns or mimes do. That's how they communicate. A mouth and rod puppet like you takes two hands to manipulate, but I only need one hand for a glove puppet, so I can perform two puppets at a time, and that's a show!

Me: What was the first glove puppet show you saw?
Brad: The first one I remember was Liz Joyce's Punch and Judy show. Punch and Judy is a show that began in England hundreds of years ago. People perform it all over the world today. I'm not quite that old. I saw the show about twelve years ago and loved it.

Me: What was the name and personality of your first glove puppet?
Brad: I made a puppet in college named Oatmeal because he was made from brown paper the color of oatmeal. He didn't really have his own personality, I used him in different stories and he would become the character the story needed.

Me: How do you prepare before a show?
Brad: I'll go through the show in my head to make sure I remember everything and all the puppets and props are set up where they need to be.

Me: How do you start creating your awesome characters for your puppet acts?
Brad: The idea comes first. I think of the story that I want to tell, and then I figure out what characters I need to make to tell it.

Me: Thanks for letting me interview you!
Brad: Thank you! I've never been interviewed by a monster before.

Now that you love glove puppets as much as I do, check out Clown Circus performed by Brad Shur this week: Wed, July 25th through Sat, 28th, performances as 10:30am and 1pm!  The show and all of the glove puppets are hand made by Paul Vincent Davis, and Brad brings the characters to life with silly voices and lots of laughs! See you at the theatre!


Bella Monster
Clown Circus by Paul Vincent Davis
Performed by Brad Shur, PST Artist in Residence
July 25th-28th | 10:30am & 1pm

My New Favorite Thing: Object Theatre!

Hi my beautiful friends!
Bella Monster here. Today I would like to tell you about my new favorite thing, OBJECT THEATRE! At first I didn't quite understand what it was. But after some research I fell in love with it. I know you will too. Take a look at my research. These videos are performances of object theatre. Lets watch them together! The first two are from Europe and the third is from the U.S. Dont worry, you dont have to cross an ocean to see object theatre you can see many shows like these at PST in Brookline, MA with me!

Wow! Object theatre involves every kind of puppetry and is where anything can come to life to tell a story. I'm a puppet and I thought I could only interact with other puppets like me. But an ordinary object could suddenly be my best friend. I can be friends with everything!? 

This amazes my furry little mind. What kinds of objects would you want to come to life? I will start by creating my own object theatre and making friends with everything I see. See you next Tuesday puppet fans to find out my next new favorite thing!

If you're interested in seeing a live object theatre show check out Snow White and Other Tales starting tomorrow at PST by Perry Alley Theatre!

Bella Monster

Snow White and Other Tales 
July 18, 2012 - July 21, 2012 

My New Favorite Thing: Puppets At Night

Hi Everyone!
It's me again your favorite, furry, fabulous, friend, Bella Monster! It's Tuesday and it's time for My New Favorite Thing. This week my new favorite thing is Puppets at Night at PST! What is Puppets at Night? Well I'll tell you! Its programming for adults in the evening for ages 16 and up at PST. After dusk the puppets come out to play in performances and classes, including me!

Adult Classes
In our adult classes, teachers, artists, puppeteers and puppet enthusiasts come to strengthen their puppet skills. This summer we are offering a brand new class which starts on Sun, July 22nd.  Can puppets make puppets? I want to! More info.

Puppets and Play-Making In the Classroom
July 22nd-Aug 12th, Sun afternoons, 

Puppet Slam
Our upcoming performance for Puppets at Night is the Puppet Showplace Slam; a collection of mini plays using puppets with content ranging from elegant to satiric. All kinds of artists show up from all over to put on an amazing show and have lots of fun!

Last slam this season! 
Saturday, July 21, 2012, 8:00 pm 

Now that Puppets At Night is my new favorite thing, I better learn how to become an adult so I can go! Check out this video of my friend Phil teaching me about what it means to be an adult.

Bella Monster

My NEW Favorite Thing

Hello all,

I am pink, furry and fabulous. Thats right its me, Bella Monster! Reporting live from Puppet Showplace theatre, the first puppetry center in New England. Thank you for visiting our blog. This post is about my new segment called 'My New Favorite Thing', by me! Every Tuesday I will update you with my new favorite thing, things like puppets, pink and strawberries.

This week my new favorite thing is Pinocchio! PST's new show coming out Fourth of July weekend. Pinocchio is a story about a puppet who wants to become a real boy. I'm a puppet, like Pinocchio, and I am on a quest to find out what it means to be real. What do you think it means to be real?

The trees outside are real and give us oxygen. I try to be kind and generous like the trees but they don't laugh and sing like me. The kids I meet are real! Kids play and learn like me. Together we learn from each other. But they aren't covered in fur the way I am.

So being real must come from inside. Being real can't always be seen or heard. The love we have inside is what makes us real. I'm Bella Monster, I'm proud to say I'm real and I know you are too!

                                                                    Bella Monster