Kaspar and Gretel in Puppet Crimes by Spybird Theater.jpg

Puppet Crimes

by Jana Zeller, Spybird Theater

April 12 (Fri) | 8:00 pm
April 13 (Sat) | 8:00 pm
$15 / $10 Puppets at Night Members

"Puppet Crimes" is a raucous new piece featuring traditional German hand puppet heroes Kasper and Gretel as they struggle to survive in an old shack on the margins of society. As the centuries pass through their little puppet booth, war is always raging and Kasper tries to avoid getting blamed, arrested and drafted into the army. However, this petty puppet always ends up being the scapegoat for larger crimes. In a grotesque world of gun-runners, outhouses, and a declining monarchy, Kasper (with the humor and wit of the common man) ducks out from under authority and manages to survive another 200 years. This action-packed show draws inspiration from German, British, and Italian hand puppet traditions.

Recommended for adults and teens.

VIDEO: See a clip of Kasper and Gretel in action from an early version of the show!

Jana with Gretel. (Photo Credit: Shannon Herrick)

Jana with Gretel. (Photo Credit: Shannon Herrick)


Jana is a second-generation German-American puppeteer and visual artist based in Vermont.  Her passion for the hand puppet has driven her to research extensively this 400 year-old European tradition, and the many ways that themes explored long ago still have relevance in our current times. She is intrigued by the fact that these little puppets, who first appeared in the fairgrounds of Europe in the sixteen hundreds and spoke to the common people about politics, the church, and society, have survived to this day, defying authority, economic hardship, and censorship. In her research, Jana conducted several interviews with Peter Schumann of Bread and Puppet, who witnessed the old fairground performances in his childhood in Germany and personally knew some of Germany’s most renowned hand puppeteers.

The creation of this piece is supported by a generous grant from the Jim Henson Foundation.