In its fourth event of a series aimed at mature audiences, the ever-popular Playhouse Puppetry Slam, returns for a one-night only showcase of vignettes that will leave you stunned, maybe even titillated and wanting more. Since previous years performances have sold out, two shows are scheduled: 7:00 and 9:00 p.m.
The Puppet Company, yes, the one in Glen Echo that stages adorable family shows, stops, drops, bends and snaps for an evening of adult content with “mature” themes. So, leave the kids with grandma, cuddle your squeeze and get ready for a puppeteer’s take on love, sex and rock and roll.
Like the traditional poetry slam, various puppets will “take the mic” and spew their take on life and love. The show’s content is described as ranging from “raunchy and risqué to the tender and tear-jerking in a fast-moving succession of both rough and polished acts.” The previous production included “a haunting excerpt from the ballet Sleeping Beauty, a saucy striptease by ‘Betty the Banana’ and a heart-wrenching song of what it is like to be a toy by ‘Raggedy Ann.’” This year – who knows?
Curator and lead puppeteer assistant Eric Brooks beams with energy and enthusiasm when talking about the show filled with creative segments and short experimental pieces. Even while carefully scripted there’s still room for improvisation and flow.
While the cast of Avenue Q may have popularized the presentation of life-size puppets having grown-up issues, this Slam uses the “table top” variation with the puppeteers manipulating and sounding the characters.
There’s obviously a whole world of puppetry out there when one realizes that the emcee Jill Kyle-Keith,
is an actress, stand-up comedian and puppeteer—out of Baltimore, no less, and curator for Beal Street Puppets. There’s even a “Puppet Slam Network” that supports such events, organized by Heather Henson, none other than the daughter of the beloved late Jim Henson of “Sesame Street” fame. Puppeteers from up and down the east coast region will be participating in the Glen Echo event to showcase the finest entertainment and talents.
The evening will even include live music by the jazzy JFQ Quartet (stands for Just Friends) playing a full range of styles from traditional and modern jazz to bebop, pop and fusion.
Once the adult material is safely stashed away, the Puppet Co. prepares for its upcoming production, Jack in the Beanstalk, the traditional children’s version, of course, at least until the next Slam!
The Playhouse Puppet Slam is Friday, February 11 at 7pm and 9pm at the Puppet Company, 7300 MacArthur Blvd, (Glen Echo Park) Glen Echo, Md. Seating is limited. Advance purchase strongly recommended. Buy tickets.
Scenes from last year’s Puppet Slam