Pinocchio coming to Haven stage

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A much-beloved children’s tale is coming to Brookhaven in allits three-dimensional – and two-dimensional – glory.

On July 15 and 16, award-winning puppetry producer PeterZapletal is bringing his professional touring company, the PuppetArts Theater, to entertain both children and reminiscent adultsalike with a story that has been loved throughout history by allages.

“We chose Pinocchio because it’s such an epic story,” Zapletalsaid. “The scenes also move rather quickly, and we have a techniquewhere the scenes are projected from an overhead projector and itmoves you from scene to scene quickly without ever having to closethe curtain. Actually, we don’t even have a curtain.”

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The performance is not only done with traditional puppets, butlive actors and shadow puppets are also an important part of theshow.

“Because we have the projection system worked out, we also useshadow puppets, where we put an object between the screen and theoverhead projection, and you can see shadow of the object on thescreen,” Zapletal said.

The shadows are cast by two-dimensional cutouts much of thetime, but are also done by the puppets and live actors. Moving thepuppets to different distances between the projector and the screencan increase and decrease the size of the shadows, and sometimesdifferent colors of plastic cutouts are used to create differenteffects as well.

“Some of them are printed on mylar and are in color, so on thescreen you’ll see the color image of the cutout. Sometimes it’sother paper that we use to cut out the shape of the puppet,” hesaid.

Zapletal said behind the scenes, things can get a little hecticwith all the shadowing and positioning and interaction between liveactors and puppets. That, he said, is why the productions are funfor the troupe as well as for the audience.

“Sometimes, to make our life even more complicated, we take athree-dimensional puppet and put him behind the screen,” he said.”Sometimes the three-dimensional puppets that are acting in frontof the screen also interact with the actors that are wearing masks,and sometimes the actors move behind the screen and are shadows.The hard part is to keep it straight in our minds when we’re in theshow.”

Zapletal said the hour -long show is recommended for childrenages 4 and up, since that age range has the capability to sitthrough it and understand it.

Usually the troupe performs for school audiences, he said. Butwhile they are in Brookhaven, they will perform at The Haven forgeneral audiences on Tuesday, July 15, at 7 p.m. and Wednesday,July 16, at 9 a.m.

The puppet show is sponsored by the Mississippi Arts Commission,the Brookhaven Trust and the Brookhaven Little Theatre. Funds forthe project will benefit the Save The Haven renovation project.

Tickets are $5 per person. Performances are a part of the 4thannual Brookhaven Little Theatre summer drama camp, which is July14-25. Children who participate in the camp will also present aperformance of “Pinocchio” at 7 p.m. Friday, July 25. For moreinformation on the camp call (601) 833-4366.