Local puppet pros bring fairy tale favorite to life

Local puppet pros bring fairy tale favorite to life

ATLANTA -

The big kids are back in school now. But, the little kids still need something fun to keep them busy.

That's why Atlanta's Center for Puppetry Arts if presenting what it calls a pre-school show right now. Good Day Atlanta's Paul Milliken got a sneak peek behind-the-scenes as the center takes on a fairy tale that's popular with boys and girls.

The story of Rumplestiltskin.

But, the current production at the center contains a few surprises that kids will like. That's especially so when you get a look backstage. You get a preview of the man himself – Rumplestiltskin!

And, though he's the star of his own show at the center, he's got nothing on the marionette masters working their magic behind the scenes.

Director Amy Sweeney said, "We actually only have two performers, Tim Sweeney and Reay Kaplan, and they are wonderful. They play, I think, 10 different characters in the show."

That means that the guy behind one character is likely taking on the role of several others with masterful talent and ease.

Puppeteer Tim Sweeney said, "It's always a challenge to try to differentiate and make it sound like there's more people up there than there really are."

During one particular number, Sweeney and Kaplan and standing 12 feet above the stage, singing live, pulling strings and even rolling in set pieces.

Puppeteer Reay Kaplan said, "It's a choreography, as much as anything. It's a dance."

He said, "You need to go very slowly and systematically so that everybody knows where they need to be at any given point."

The dance is so perfect that even an awkward movement backstage still looks like something wonderful on stage.

Director Amy Sweeney said, "They do these crosses and things, and you just don't know how they're doing it, until you watch them backstage."

Which, of course, is the whole point.

More info:
The Center for Puppetry Arts
1404 Spring St. NW at 18th
Atlanta, GA 30309-2820
Ticket Sales: 404-873-3391
Website: http://www.puppet.org/

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