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Puppet Co. presents classic tale “Beauty and the Beast”

Jackie Madejski manipulates one of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ marionettes. COURTESY PHOTOPuppeteer Jackie Madejski manipulates one of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ marionettes. COURTESY PHOTO  Some think the story of “Beauty and the Beast” originated with the 1991 Disney movie. In fact, it is “ancient – with scholars finding the source 4000 years back,” said Allan Stevens, founding director alongside Christopher and Mayfield Piper of the Puppet Co.

“But we know the story best from the version that appeared in Andrew Lang Blue Fairy Book (1899), the first of a multivolume collection of folk and fairy tales,” he said.

The Puppet Co. is presenting its own version of the story – with marionettes.

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Puppets share stage with people in Olney Theatre’s ‘Our Town’

Wedding of George and Emily copyGeorge (left) and Emily (right) – William Vaughan and Cindy De La Cruz – stand with Jon Hudson Odom as the Stage Manager in Olney Theatre Center’s production of "Our Town." COURTESY PHOTO  The creative mind works in unexpected ways.

When Aaron Posner was staging “Measure for Measure” at the Folger Theatre in 2004 – a production that incorporated puppets – he pointed out to their designer Aaron Cromie that his creations looked “lively and human” during rehearsals but “so dead” during a break.

Posner made a mental leap, that should he direct Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” puppets would represent the dead people in the third act.

From there Posner went on to the idea of using puppets more extensively, as he is currently doing as the director of the Olney Theatre Center’s production of “Our Town.” 

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Passion for puppetry in Glen Echo company

Pinocchio Puppet Co. 1Blue Fairy helps Pinocchio in Puppet Co. production. COURTESY PHOTO  A puppeteer often must do it all.

That’s the case at the Puppet Co., a professional organization in Glen Echo that produces everything audiences see on stage.

“We make the puppets, write the scripts, design and make the costumes and sets, and sometimes compose the music when we’re not using that of classical composers,” said Christopher Piper, artistic director. “And we create the video animations used in some of our shows.”

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