On Saturday, March 10, the award-winning, 25-year-old Tanglewood Marionettes present The Dragon King, an underwater fantasy based on Chinese folklore, at Flushing Town Hall. This tale is filled with colorful sea creatures, exciting adventure, and the gorgeous puppets of the Tanglewood Marionettes. This family show and interactive arts workshop are sure to inspire a love for puppetry in children and adults alike.
“The Dragon King is a heart-warming tale based on elements from Chinese folklore, and stars an intrepid grandmother who journeys to the bottom of the sea to save the world from a terrible drought,” Anne Schaefer, Business Manager and Artistic Director, tells us. “All the puppets were hand-crafted by Tanglewood Marionettes, and are performed by master puppeteers who have spent many years perfecting their art. Recipient of a 2009 UNIMA award, The Dragon King is one of our most popular productions, and is sure to thrill young and old alike.
The Dragon King will captivate audiences of all ages with a story that transports viewers to a land overtaken by a terrible drought, where everything has turned brown and lifeless. An intrepid grandmother journeys to the bottom of the sea in search of the elusive Dragon King, ruler over all things water, to find out why he has not brought the life-giving rains. You can see highlights from the show in this video.
Founded in 1993, Tanglewood Marionettes is a nationally touring marionette theater based in New England. Large, beautifully hand-crafted marionettes, colorful sets, and integrated lighting and sound create a fully immersive theatrical experience. Its highly skilled puppeteers have spent many years perfecting their art and delighting audiences of all ages as they bring a repertoire of classic tales to life. Tanglewood Marionettes is the recipient of two UNIMA awards, puppetry’s highest honor, for The Dragon King and An Arabian Adventure.
The puppeteers at the Flushing Town Hall shows will be Peter Schaefer and Jenn Hofmeister. ‘Each of us came to puppetry by different routes, some more circuitous than others!” Schaefer says. “Peter, Jenn and I all grew up in Massachusetts, although Peter was born in Iowa and I was born in New York (I was born in Manhattan during the Blackout of 1965!). My family moved around quite a bit when I was young, and we lived in Europe (first Switzerland, then England) until the mid-1970s, after which we made our way back to the states and settled permanently in Massachusetts.”
Prior to the show, the Tanglewood Marionettes will demonstrate the basics of marionette puppet manipulation through an interactive arts workshop. Participants will be provided with handcrafted marionettes and learn simple movement techniques to express emotion. The marionettes are unpainted to showcase the construction and joining techniques.
Tickets to the interactive arts workshop are $8/$5 Children and free for members with tickets to 2:15 pm show. Space is limited to 25 participants and the workshop is strongly recommended for ages 8 and up. Younger participants should be accompanied by an adult. Tickets to family performance – which you can purchase here – are $14/$10 Members/$8 Children/$6 Member Children. For more information, visit www.flushingtownhall.org or call (718) 463-7700 x222.
“This will be our first time performing at Flushing Town Hall, and we are very much looking forward to our visit!” Schaefer says. “We hope [audience members] are impressed with our puppetry and our stagecraft, and that they perhaps learn something new about marionettes. We hope that we are able to transport them for just a little while to a happily-ever-after world where kindness prevails. But mostly we just hope that they love the show, and that they come away from the experience thinking that that was an hour well-spent.”
This winter and Spring, Flushing Town Hall will continue to open its doors to teenagers – for free. Under the “Teen Access Program”, which is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture, all 13- to 19-year-olds (whether a member or not) are welcome to attend any performance for free.
Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available.