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A Peek into HopStop Family Show's Upcoming Tanglewood Marionettes Performance

Jan 11, 2018 04:31PM ● By Linda Ditch
If Pinocchio is your family’s only reference to marionettes, then this Saturday’s free HopStop Family Show at the Hopkins Center for the Arts is your chance to broaden everyone’s horizons about the craft of puppetry. The Tanglewood Marionettes will present the Chinese folktale, “The Dragon King,” at 11am in Alumni Hall.
The performance is for children ages 3 and up, and everyone gets to participate, so be ready to sing, dance, and clap. The story is about an intrepid grandmother who journeys to the bottom of the sea in search of the elusive Dragon King to learn why he has not let rain fall on the land above. Afterwards, you’ll get to meet the puppets and puppeteers.

Tanglewood Marionettes Business Manager and Artistic Director Anne Schaefer answered a few questions about the art of puppetry:

Q: How long does it take to learn to manipulate a marionette?

A: Learning how to manipulate a marionette is akin to learning how to play a musical instrument.  Most folks can pick up the basics within a couple of weeks, but mastery of the art form takes many years of practice.  We’ve been doing this for decades, and we still learn new things every day.

Q: What is the most difficult aspect?

A: Broadly—making wood and string behave like muscle and sinew.  Specifically—making a human marionette walk convincingly!

Q: How does someone learn to do it?

A: Most puppeteers are either self-taught or learn by apprenticing with an established puppeteer or puppet company. There are also puppetry programs around the world where you can learn in a classroom or workshop setting. The University of Connecticut has both an undergraduate and a graduate degree program in Puppetry Arts, for example.

Q: What should the audience look forward to on Saturday?

A: A heartwarming tale of an intrepid grandmother who sets out to save the world!  
For more details about this show and other upcoming HopStop productions, log on to

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