Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review of Center for Puppetry Arts & Adventures of Little Noodle

This past weekend, I grabbed my best 5 year old buddy and headed out to Adventures of Little Noodle at the Center for Puppetry Arts. (Read more about the show here.)  Here is what I found:

The Center for Puppetry Arts is more than just a puppet theater.  It is an exhibit hall for some of your favorite characters.  We saw Big Bird, Kermit, Ernie, the cast of Fraggle Rock, Animal, and the Muppets Chef just to name a few.  Although flash photography is prohibited, the lighting was acceptable enough to capture a few pictures of my compadre with some of our favorite characters.

Puppet shows have come a long way since I was a kid.  Back in my day a puppet show consisted of a theatrical looking box where the puppeteers hid, minimal scene changes and plenty of visible strings and sticks.  Now I’m not saying there is anything wrong with certainly helps a child develop their mind by using their’s just that Adventures of Little Noodle was in a totally different realm of performance art.  They were able to take this puppet show into the 21st century with the following techniques:

*Screen Projection - A somewhat thin screen, which the puppeteers referred to as a Skim, was stretched across the front of the stage and was used to project the images for each scene.  As Little Noodle made her way around the grocery store encountering new people and things, the skim allowed the scene to change accordingly through the use of  colorful illustrations.

*Ultra Violet Paint - Each puppet had been painted with vivid and glowing UV paint.
*Ultra Violet Black light - Once the UV black lighting was turned on, the UV painted puppets would glow behind the Skim.  This allowed the puppets to be visible and not the puppeteers who were all decked out in black.

Photo Courtesy of The Center for Puppetry Arts

The Center for Puppetry Arts knows how to engage and educate children.  In order to make sure we were seated front and center, we arrived to the theater room 30 minutes before the performance was scheduled to begin. (FYI, it was a good decision.)  As we waited, I noticed that parents were trying to occupy their children to keep them seated and ready for the performance.  To tell you the truth, it made me start preparing myself for the fact that those same restless children would be fidgeting and making noise through the entire performance.  Well, I was wrong!  From the minute the puppeteers came out to introduce the show until the minute we were dismissed, the children were engaged and attentive.  There were motions that the children were able to do along with Little Noodle (such as help lift, run or walk in slow motion).  The characters were cute, funny and entertaining.  The puppeteers were certainly able to bring the characters to life with their live voices.  Not to mention, after the show was over, the children were offered an opportunity to create their very own Noodle puppet to take home with them.  I was amazed at how such a wide variety of ages could be entertained at one time.  In fact, the adults were as entertained as the children.

When we got in the car and my young friend recounted the story, including intricate details about healthy eating habits, loving who you are and exercising 60 minutes a day, I knew that not only was Little Noodle an entertaining way to spend an afternoon, but was also an educational way to spend our afternoon.

So, make a kid’s day by taking them to Little Noodle before it ends on April 1st.  Not only will you be showing them you love them, but you will be furthering the art of puppetry and education through puppetry arts.

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