Dreams of Home

September 7, 2012 |

An ‘All-Souls’-inspired Puppets Amongus show goes to Kazakhstan

Matt Cotten, artistic director of the puppeteering troupe Puppets Amongus, has for a long time been deeply involved with the All Souls Procession. “For over a decade, I was part of a team of teachers (Tucson Puppet Works) that held free puppet and mask making workshops for individuals and families to mourn the loss of loved ones, and to honor their lives through celebration. It has been profoundly healing for many people,” he says. Three years ago he created a puppet show for the Procession, called “El Sueno de Frida” (“Frida’s Dream”), that fit right into the Tucson tradition. “I was inspired by a photo I found of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera standing next to giant papier-mache puppets they had made for a festival, brushes in hand. It felt very familiar to me.”

At the end of September, the Puppets Amongus tribe, consisting of Cotten and his wife Sarah, with musician Jimmy Carr, will travel to Tucson’s sister city of Almaty, Kazakhstan to introduce this familiar and vital tradition to audiences at the World Puppet Carnival. “El Sueno de Frida” is a fitting representative of us as the story travels through a “surrealist patchwork” of dream, fear and memory. “I decided to bring the Frida show to the international stage to show how our community has been developing a rich tradition of honoring our past through the integration of multiple traditions, as well as through artistic invention,” Cotten adds.

Also on the trip will be life-size sheep and goose puppets, and a giant spectacle puppet with a puppet stage inside, for a street theater performance of “Tinker’s Wedding,” based on an Irish folktale. The Tucson troupe will join more than 60 troupes from across the globe, performing for eight days from September 23-30th. Come see their farewell show of “El Sueno de Frida” at the Movement Shala.

When they get back, the troupe will be opening a new theater and children’s playspace with a full season of performances on deck for the Puppets Amongus Playhouse. The new space is located on 657 W. St. Mary’s downtown, across from Davis Elementary, and will start shows November 10th with “Hatter’s Hollow.” Check out the November issue of Zócalo for more details on the opening.

“El Sueño de Frida” by Puppets Amongus, Saturday, September 8th 7:30pm, $10, The Movement Shala, 435 E. 9th St. PuppetsAmongus.com, 444-5538. 

photo: Jade Beall

Category: Arts, Entertainment