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Margaret Moody Puppets

Margaret Moody Puppets

Puppetry

Location @ AOS:

Arlington Center for the Arts (20 Academy St)

I love the way two hands and a couple of puppets can tell a lot of stories. Usually I perform for children, using hand puppets that fit my hands well. They’re based on the Bu Dai Xi (cloth bag theater) style of puppetry, which I studied in Taiwan many years ago. I started out performing Monkey King stories and still do. Monkey King is an impish character who can fly, transform himself into different creatures, but can’t bear to follow rules. The Monkey King stories, based on the Chinese epic “Journey to the West,” are a lot of fun for children 5 and up, and for adults.

In recent years, I’ve enjoyed creating simple stories for younger children featuring a little pig named Mathilda and her pal Doggie. Arlington artist Sandra Pastrana and I needle-felted the puppets, giving them soft, cartoonish outlines. During the first year of the pandemic I worked a lot in my studio at ACA, making little stories with Mathilda and Doggie, and recording them on video. Seeing the puppets so close-up was a great tool for improving the gestures that make them seem alive. In summer 2021, I had a lot of fun performing outside -- for library audiences, in parks, at preschools and at parties.

Now I’m mainly back inside, working on two new shows with collaborators.
Artist/educator Ann Wynne and I are using immersive techniques to enrich the script of “The Trolls and the Tree.” In the story, two trolls plan to take good care of a lush fairy garden. When they can’t fit their toaster, their TV and their chairs in the garden, the trolls knock over the fairies’ cherished tree. Children will participate directly in the show, sitting on cushions that evoke the woodland garden, and helping the trolls make better choices. We’re lucky to work with musician Peter Lehman, who will provide accompaniment to suit the elegant fairies and the raucous trolls.
“The Trolls and the Tree” will open at Old Schwamb Mill in summer 2022.

Puppeteer Madeleine Beresford and I are creating “The Ice River,” a new Bu Dai Xi story with the choreography we both learned in Taiwan. I’ll perform the roles of Monkey King and a ridiculous river monster; Madeleine will act as the Pig Ju Ba-jie as well as the Goddess of Mercy and a giant turtle. Look for “The Ice River” in early 2023.

Hope to see you at a puppet show soon!