Tale commemorates death of last WWI veteran
By Ginny Masullo
TFW Contributing Writer
We don’t have anything if we don’t have the stories.
Korean-American puppet artist, Andrew Kim and British actor/ musician Kathy Kim know this well. Combining their wealth of experience to form the Thingumajig Theatre of West Yorkshire, England, they and their puppet stars will take the stage in Fayetteville to present their world acclaimed production “A November Day: A War Story.”
This fable of sorts was written in commemoration of the death of the last World War I veteran who died in 2008 at age 111. Using puppets, live music and hand, rod and shadow puppets coupled with a transforming set, the show explores the question of how we remember such monumental events as WWI. The story deftly bridges jargon with compassion while calling attention to the waste of warfare.
Local puppeteers Jo Ann Kaminsky of the Art Experience and George Meyer of The Village Theater Puppets in Eureka Springs and Heart of the Beast in Minneapolis, Minn., are collaborating to bring to our town “puppetry like Fayetteville has never seen, puppetry that truly expands our hearts.”
“Typically people tend to think of puppets as something for children only,” says Kaminsky, who along with Meyer, wants to dispel that myth by making Fayetteville a circuit for some of the best puppetry in the world. “When people see this show they will better understand the depth and breath of the art and want
Kaminsky has been doing and teaching puppetry for years in Fayetteville. The giant puppets seen at First Night Fayetteville and other parades are her creation. She emphasizes that the art of puppetry, even in this electronic age, holds remarkable power and enchantment.
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“Puppets can say and do things that humans can’t,” says Kaminsky. “Their heads can roll off and come back. Because the puppet is not human, the audience is already suspending their belief. This suspension allows the audience to be more open to the essence and magic of the story.”
Meyer and Kaminsky have witnessed first hand the wealth of puppetry art in the world. Traveling worldwide to puppet festivals such as the Puppeteers of America or the legendary Bread and Puppets of Vermont, they are hungry to bring similar works to Fayetteville. Not only do they plan to create a circuit for high quality international puppet theater, they intend to continue their annual Puppets in the Park in Fayetteville, which is a day of puppet making and puppet shows. They would eventually like to find a permanent space for puppet theater and create a puppet guild where puppet makers could come together to share their
“A November Day: A War Story,” a 55-minute production suitable for ages 10 and older, will be presented at
7 p.m. Tuesday, March 1 in the University of Arkansas Center For Continuing Education Auditorium on 2 E. Center St. off the Fayetteville square. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Contact Jo Ann Kaminsky at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 442-0557.