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Puppets, ‘dragons’ coming to town

The Brookhaven Arts Council will help bring the magic ofpuppetry to town Thursday with a student workshop at Lipsey MiddleSchool and a community performance that night at the Haven.

The Wood and Strings Theatre will present “Out of the Mist … aDragon” Thursday at 7 p.m. The visit is sponsored by the artscouncil and funded in part by a grant from the Mississippi ArtsCommission.

“I’m excited the council is able to bring them to town and intothe school,” said James Minter, drama committee chairman for thearts council.

Earlier Thursday, Minter said theatre representatives willpresent a workshop for sixth grade students in several classes atLipsey Middle School. He said the students will learn aboutpuppetry and make several puppets on their own.

There is no admission charge for the Thursday night performance,said Minter, citing an arts commission funding rule.

“Out of the Mist … a Dragon” is a dramatic and magical taleperformed with classic puppet styles from around the world. Thestory follows the adventures of a fisherman, who has been turnedinto a dragon, as he travels the world in search of wisdom.

Minter said the show is an impressive production and itsmulticultural aspect should prove educational.

The show uses reproductions of carved masks of the NativeAmericans of the Northwest Cost, Punch and Judy from Europe andshadow puppets from Indonesia. The main characters arereproductions of the classical Japanese style of puppetry known asBunraku, said Clarissa Lega, producer for Wood and StringsTheatre.

“They become very lifelike after you start moving them,” Legasaid.

Lega said almost every country has a tradition of some kind ofpuppetry.

“I really think puppetry goes all the way back to someone inprehistoric times who picked up a piece of fur and used it to tella story,” Lega said.

The Wood and Strings Theatre is a professional national touringcompany featuring puppetry styles from around the world. Thecompany has performed four consecutive years for NationalGeographic Live! in Washington D.C.