So, back in early spring, I went to see Trouble Puppet Theater Company's production of Upton Sinclair's, The Jungle-- you know, that upbeat novel about Chicago slaughterhouses at the turn of the last century. As I told Trouble Puppet founder, Connor Hopkins, post-show, the piece was so powerful it made me want to go home and kill myself. Okay, okay, not really. But the presentation was naturally incredibly dark, given its seed material. Hopkins had a laugh when I told him my thoughts-- he said lots of people greeted him enthusiastically after performances, shook his hand and cheerfully declared, "That was TERRIBLE," by which, of course, they meant that it was wonderful how Hopkins' puppeteers so carefully and eloquently captured their characters.
That wasn't my first experience with Trouble Puppet. In 2010 I saw their astonishingly fabulous co-production of A Most Unsettling and Possibly Haunted Evening in the Parlour of the Brothers Grimm. So I knew going in The Jungle was going to be good. A couple of weeks after the show, I visited Connor's workspace and chatted with him and Caroline Reck about the show in particular and puppetry in general. Reck, who participated in The Jungle, also has her own puppet company, Glass Half Full Theatre. These two are very tall and very talented and very brilliant. After we got the preliminaries out of the way-- for example concurring that King Friday and Lady Elaine Fairchild aren't exactly the gateway drug to an adult puppet passion-- they fielded a bazillion of my questions. I captured their answers the good old fashioned journalistic way-- audio recording. And, because I am trying to master video blogging (I have a very long way to go) I also shot some footage. Below you'll find both a YouTube link and the print version of the audio interview. But First!!
Before we get to that, I must tell you that Trouble Puppet Theater has a fast approaching fundraiser that promises to be most thrilling. Let me hit you with those details now so you can order your tickets. I am definitely going to this one. Details:
WHO: Trouble Puppet Theater Company Get Yourself into Trouble: The Apocalypse
Okay, now that you've got that on the calendar, here's the YouTube snippet (pardon the parts where I accidentally can be heard talking but I just got SO EXCITED) and the interview with Connor and Caroline:
Spike: Have you studied puppetry formally or are you self-taught?