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Not your average puppet show in Chestnut Hill

Posted by Laura Franzini  November 29, 2012 10:10 AM

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The Boston College Theatre Department will present a one-night festival called "Puppetology: An Evening of Uncommon Theater" in conjunction with the department's Rev. J. Donald Monan, S.J. Professorship in Theatre Arts.

John Bell, an international authority on puppet theater and its allied artistic forms of object theater and toy theater, is holding the festival, which will feature artists Eric Bass, Beth Nixon, Lake Simons, and Great Small Works, a troupe of which Bell is a founding member, according to the college.

The event will take place in the Bonn Studio Theater, located in the college's Robsham Theater Arts Center, on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public, but advance reservations are required.

"Puppetology" will feature each artist performing a piece from their puppet and object theater repertoire.

Eric Bass, founder and artistic director of the Sandglass Theater in Putney, VT, will perform a selection from his award-winning solo show, "Autumn Portraits."

Beth Nixon, of Ramshackle Enterprises in Providence, RI, will perform a "portable puppet show," drawn from her Suitcase Series.

Lake Simons will debut "Portrait of Me as Others," which explores the condition of being uncomfortable in one's own skin and the temptation to try on new personas.

Great Small Works, featuring Bell, will perform a piece titled "Three Graces," an "op-art romp" inspired by Grace Paley, Grace Kelly, Grace Jones, and Grace Lee Boggs, according to the college.

"Puppetry is exciting because of the way it brings so many different art forms together in performance: sculpture, music, acting, playwriting," Bell said in a press release for the event. "It's always open to innovations as well--new technologies, new mash-ups of intercultural elements, new mixing of high and low culture. Students coming to 'Puppetology' are going to be surprised, inspired, and excited about what they see--the wide range of performance forms that constitutes contemporary work with puppets and objects," he said.

The festival is presented by the BC Theater Department as part of Bell's year-long professorship at the college.

"We want people to know that puppets are not just for kids," said the theater department chair, Scott T. Cummings. "We want students to know that this type of work exists and that dedicated artists do it for a living. It's a hard life, but it's a creative life."

General admission tickets to "Puppetology" are free and available through the Robsham Theater Arts Center box office, or by calling 617-552-4002. Reservations are required due to limited availability.

For more information, visit www.bc.edu/theatre.

Laura Franzini can be reached at laura.franzini@globe.com.

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