This July, Dream Tale Puppets will be performing its newest piece “Alice, or the Red King’s Dream.” Two characters, whose identities are not very clear, bring to life a puppet of a little girl and they set her on the search for her lost kitten. The little girl’s name is Alice. Though she arrived in this original theatrical world from the pages of Lewis Carroll’s stories, and she meets many characters from Carroll’s stories, her adventures follow their own unique path. Carroll’s nonsense and puzzles are parts of our show, and they fit the “theater in a theater” stylistic device that also is present there. We aim to bring joyful entertainment and inspire imaginative, creative thinking by inviting the audience to participate in our search for meaning and sense in partly nonsensical worlds.
Twenty years ago, at the beginning of my life in the U.S., I worked mostly as a theatre teacher. Dream Tale Puppets was founded as a program at the Cape Cod Children’s Museum and later on was supported under the umbrellas of my following visa sponsors. Five years ago, when we were kicking off work on “Alice,” my visa sponsor was the Polish Theatre Institute of NYC. The Institute gave us the freedom to pursue whatever goals interested us. So with work on “Alice”, I tried to look for my next identity as an artist. On a practical level, it meant trying to reconnect with some creative techniques I learned or developed earlier on in life, and searching for ways of creating theatre that can emerge during the work.
Of course, these kinds of explorations needed further practical support. Luckily for me, Margaret Moody agreed to join. John Wesley United Methodist Church in Falmouth, the Middleborough, Kingston, Arlington, Somerville Public Libraries, and the Unitarian Universalist Church in Medford supported us with rehearsing spaces. The Puppet Showplace Theatre included us in the Incubator Program and also offered a place to work. Friends helped with materials and set building.
In September 2017, I had to leave the U.S. to wait in my native Poland for my next visa. Eight months later, I was back in Massachusetts as a U.S. resident. This dramatically changed my immigration status and freed me from the annual requirement of applying for an extension of my visa.
We resumed rehearsals at the end of 2019. When the pandemic hit, we had to move rehearsals online. This added to the experimental dimensions of the project as we played with a variety of kinds of puppets and ways to bring scenes to life. This show tells its own story, but it also chronicles the practical theatrical search for my and our ensemble’s artistic identity. The traces of this search are imprinted in the show and its language, and I hope they are as interesting and inspiring as the story is.
THE FIRST PERFORMANCES DATES
- Tuesday, July 12, at 2:00 PM, Reuben Hoar Public Library in Littleton,
- Friday, July 15, at 2:00 PM, Carver Public Library,
- Saturday, July 16, at 12: 00, Mansfield Public Library.
This program is supported in part by grants from the Littleton, Carver, and Mansfield, Cultural Councils, local agencies which are supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.