** Paperhand Puppet Intervention celebrates its 18th year with “Of Wings and Feet.” The show occurs at Forest Theatre in Chapel Hill August 4th – September 4th (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day); at the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh September 8th – 10th; and Carolina Theatre of Greensboro September 16th – 17th. **
The Paperhand Puppet Intervention is one of the things about this area that is so unique and outstanding. We mentioned them in our Shakori Hills post and you can sometimes catch them at the NCMA. But they end each summer with a magical performance at UNC’s Forest Theatre. This is a treat for the senses, and worth attending.
The Paperhand Puppet Intervention is based out of Saxapahaw and the puppets aren’t what you imagine — these are huge, larger-than-life puppets that are based on someone’s genius artistic vision. They don’t speak and you can see the puppeters working them. However, they are beautiful creations.
The Forest Theatre show starts as the sun sets, but each show also has a pre-show of some kind that is family-friendly entertainment, like music and magic. Families show up to picnic (yes, adult beverages allowed) and mingle beforehand. So pack a spread and enjoy the waning summer hours. When the Paperhand band comes out (yes, the entire show is accompanied by a live band who actually composed an original score for the event) things begin in earnest.
The entire performance is done without dialogue and is in acts. There isn’t any intermission and the show time runs close to an hour and a half. The plot is pretty esoteric but that doesn’t stop kids from enjoying it. In fact, this show is accessible to adults and children and I encourage even folks without kids in tow to attend. It really is gorgeous and poetic.
But for kids (which is what this blog is about) this is particularly magical. As the show is outside and as the M.C. encourages participation and noise, no need for kids to sit still or be quiet. Perfect. And throughout the show various puppets and performers will come out into the audience for kids to touch and get close to. There is humor, dancing, things that light up, people on stilts….and more!
Admissions is not necessarily cheap. Well, depending on your personality I guess. It is a suggested donation system. Suggested donations this year were as follows: $12 for adults, $8 for kids, kids 2 & under free. But no one will be turned away. They do sell some merchandise, no concessions for sale at all, and the bathrooms are port-a-johns.
The show is very weather-dependent. Afterall, this is outside and the puppets can not get wet or be in strong winds. You can follow Paperhand’s Facebook page to get the up to the minute cancellation information.
If you haven’t been to Forest Theatre before, please note that you will want to bring a blanket or chairs to sit on. The floor is dirt and gravel (its an outdoor, natural amphitheater). But you do need to get there because Forest Theatre is beautiful.
And I love having this performance troupe in our own community. Thanks to all the artistic, wonderful volunteers who work so hard to make these shows happen. It’s a gift.