Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Puppets Packing Heat 

The Wrapping Paper Caper

Wednesday, Dec 6 2000
Comments
Puppet. Even the word sounds hopelessly cute, conjuring up images of the clunky, big-eyed felt creatures that Mister Rogers used to visit, or Jim Henson's stable of Muppet characters. But there's much more than cuddliness in the puppet oeuvre. We all recognize marionettes like Pinocchio, and we'd all be disturbed to discover giant replicas of the 'N Sync boys, who took a set of 25-foot puppet versions of themselves on tour recently. In film, adult puppetry caught the eye of the satirically inclined, thanks to John Cusack's nebbishy antics in Being John Malkovich.

But those puppets were all pre-made, cleaving to our physical notion of puppetry. Liebe Wetzel and her troupe Lunatique Fantastique explode these puppetic preconceptions with their mind-bending, eye-popping flights of imagination, currently incarnated as The Wrapping Paper Caper. Wetzel's trademark technique is to use ordinary objects -- a feather duster, foam, or newspaper, for example -- to evoke surprisingly well-articulated characters. With a little rearrangement and a few simple gestures, these items come to life right before the audience's eyes, interacting with an amazing range of nuance and emotion. Though physical, the gut-busting humor that underscores each piece is never brutishly slapstick. Nor is it infantile: There's no need to reach deep into your inner child to be thoroughly tickled by the Fantastique folk.

In this Caper, a puppet private eye is hot on the trail of some styrofoam peanuts. He meets an eclectic cast of packing materials, including paper bag and cardboard tube constructions with names like "Saks-y BagLady," on his way to uncovering a holiday mystery. An ensemble of four additional puppeteers joins Wetzel as the show unfolds. It's bound to be a feel-good antidote to the rigors of buying, buying, buying -- the perfect way to unwrap a little delight this holiday season.

About The Author

Katherine Brown

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"