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PREVIEW: National Puppetry Festival

Mousetrap Puppets’ Punch and Judy features the classic comedy characters. Mousetrap Puppets’ show and another Punch and Judy by Parasol Puppets play are free Saturday events, playing at 1:15 PM and 2:45 PM. 

Open Eye Figure Theatre of
Minneapolis will present Molly and the Magic Boot, in which a city girl is stuck on Grandma’s farm for the summer with no TV, no cell phone and no video games. With the help of some fantastical footwear, her fabulous farm friends and a little imagination, Molly discovers how much fun the outdoors can be. Free. Saturday, July 22 at 12:30 PM, 2 PM and 3:30 PM.

This week features pageantry and puppets all week long at the National Puppetry Festival 2017 being held at Concordia University in St. Paul, MN. The festival is organized by the Puppeteers of America, an organization headquartered in Minneapolis, which is celebrating its 80th birthday with an installment of its biannual conference. More than 400 Puppeteer members from across the nation and the world will attend workshops, exhibits and performances. Visiting performance groups hail from France, Norway, Israel, Belgium, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Kansas City, and Vermont. Admission for performances are $15.00.

For members of the public, there will be evening performances to attend every day of the week from Monday, July 17 through Saturday, July 22. The festival includes performances from two Minneapolis theatres; Open Eye Theatre will present Molly and the Magic Boot Driveway Tour as one of the free children’s performances.

Cendres plays Monday, July 17 at 7 PM, and is presented by the Norwegian group Plexus Polaire.

The festival opens with Cendres, an emotional thriller straddling fiction and reality based on Norwegian author Gaute Heivoll’s book Before I Burn. It concerns a pyromaniac who ravages a village. The play has been described as both “ingenious” and mesmerizing. On the other side of the festival, the closing night performance is the National Marionette Theater’s production of the Grimm Brothers’ classic opera Hansel and Gretel. The performance is listed as suitable for all ages.

Saturday features several free events for children, including two puppet shows. Events will cumulate with the “most awesome, amazing, incredible and silly” puppet parade which will be held at 4:00 PM, for which children encouraged but not required to bring their own puppet.

National Marionette Theater’s Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel plays Saturday, July 22 at
7 PM and 9:30 PM.

The National Puppetry Festival runs July 17-22 in Minneapolis, MN.

Bev Wolfe
Bev Wolfe is a Staff Reviewer at the Twin Cities Arts Reader. She is an attorney and avid theatre fan who has written theatre reviews for local publications since 2008. She is also an Ivey Awards evaluator.
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