A puppet theater company based in Southern Vermont will be performing at the Avalon Theater this weekend. Presented by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre
and Pangea World Theater
, Sandglass Theater
's All Weather Ballads: A Love Story
takes the audience on a journey through five seasons as it explores the relationship between climate, culture, and community.
A play for adults, All Weather Ballads
is suitable for people 14 years or older.
Eric Bass, Sandglass's co-artistic director, wrote the text for the ballads, which is the only text in the show. He and his wife, co-artistic director Ines Zeller Bass, act as puppeteers. Vermont musician Nick Keil performs music composed by Kirk Murphy.
The ballads take the audience through each season metaphorically. For example, there's an ice fishing scene that serves as a metaphor about that time in life when you feel like you're on thin ice, and there's a scene about Vermont's mud season that acts as a metaphor for that feeling you get when you feel like your life is stuck in the mud.
The play is also a love story, where a couple is seen through the seasons, from when they are kids to when they are older. Rather than illustrating the ballads, the puppeteers work in contrast to the songs, which "opens up the meaning," Bass says.
One significant part of the show deals with a catastrophe -- specifically a fire that happened a few years ago. Bass says that no matter where the company tours, there always seems to be a connection to the idea of a disaster currently happening to the community. The scene will surely resonate with the In the Heart of the Beast community, since Walker Church, where HOBT got its start, was destroyed in a fire on Sunday.
Bass says Sandglass is a company that works with "very precise manipulation." Their biggest inspiration over the years has been classical Japanese puppetry, although less so for this particular production. But even in this piece, the company focuses on creating environments and having the puppets experience events in a palpable way. Unlike Bread and Puppet Theater, based in northern Vermont, Sandglass veers away from symbolic and political work, towards theater that is much more about the senses.
IF YOU GO:
In addition, there will be a puppetry workshop conducted by Sandglass Theater on Saturday, June 2 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Pangea World Theater. It is free for those who have a ticket to the show, or $10 otherwise. Call 612.203.3388 to register.
1500 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN