Monday, September 9, 2013

Day Trippin' - Paperhand Puppet Intervention Group

I've heard about the Paperhand Puppet Intervention Group for the last couple of years but kept missing the chance to take the boys.  They routinely play the Festival at the Eno in Durham as well as the NC Museum of Art. Alas, I saw they were playing in Chapel Hill yesterday and opted to take the V-boys.

We couldn't have asked for a nicer day, weekend, really.  It was warm without being hot with little humidity. We got there early, yes I know I was equally surprised, and enjoyed some NC bluegrass pre-show.  The performance started around 3 and for the next hour, this beautiful natural stone theater was transformed into a puppet paradise.

Ok.  Stop me now.  Maybe you remember when Ben and I came upon the "Million Puppet March" when we were in DC last fall and I believe it was ME that laughed tirelessly about the lameness of puppets.  I put them in the same class a mimes and clowns.  The world would be a better place without them.

I was wrong.  About the puppets. The mimes and clowns can still suck it.  Both creep me out. Granted during the pre-show I could smell that someone had lit up a big fat one and yes the smell of unwashed hippie surrounded me, but the show itself was uber cool.

The premise of the show was the story of evolution as told through a giant puppet headed Charles Darwin. It started with creation and ended to a theme of environmentalism and global responsibility.

Ok.  Stop me now and ask, was this on a child level, YES! Ben just about blew me away that he knew the word "hominid." Granted, at one point he looked at me and said, "we need to quit driving our car, it is killing our Earth".  Yes, son, and the bike trip over here to hear this important message would have started last week."  Ian loved all the movement, action from cast moving throughout the audience, and in general making piles of stones at his feet.  But, Ben was truly into the whole show.  He asked me to take pictures of every single set.

I settled on this shot at the end which was really cool since they passed the giant human head and parts of a human man through the crowd and Ben was able to touch it himself.  So, am I going to abandon my day job and take on one of the cast descriptions as a "wildwoman, healer, gardener, and trickester?"

No, but what I will tell you is that I have no regrets in taking my kids to places that are out of the ordinary from their daily life.  I explained to Ben that the man in the Balinese batik skirt in front of us was cool like him, and that he was wearing something boys wear in another culture. Exposure to that which is different is another step to fostering his understanding and appreciation of his world.

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