Set deep in the Sagebrush Desert, PACKRAT is a visually stunning puppet-forward play that contemplates humanity’s relationship with the natural world. Puppetry, projections and an original score elegantly come together to create many layers of meaning and emotions. At the center of the action is Bud, a peculiar rodent with a penchant for hoarding humankind’s goods. When a discarded cigar sparks a wild fire, the animals in Bud’s valley flee for their lives. Already an outcast among the desert animals for his hoarding instincts, he gets blamed for the human-made disasters infiltrating their lives. When they ban him from the community, Bud must set out alone amidst a raging fire, to confront human-made dangers and a few natural ones. PACKRAT is a poignant account of Bud’s journey to find his place in the world, and his ultimate realization that the interconnectedness of life rules the day.
“Intricate puppets beguilingly handled”
“A journey of rescue and redemption…Thoroughly mesmerizing … amazingly expressive”
“Has the solemn austerity of an ancient fable”
– The New York Times
“Dazzling puppets depicting animals on an odyssey for a new home after a forest fire wow in this enthralling performance piece for children and adults. Its technical artistry, emotional resonance and engaging plot all cohere into a ravishing experience.”
“A play must be doing something right when it can successfully invest a serving spoon with emotional resonance.PackRat tells a straightforward but moving tale, wonderfully performed. If one can see a theatrical experience as another kind of human treasure, you will want to add some time spent with Bud, Firestone, and the other inhabitants of the Valley to your own collection. “
– THINKING THEATRE
1) Family Puppetry Workshop: in which parents and older siblings work with younger children in creating their own desert animal puppet(s).
2) Design & Dramaturgy & Storytelling: focuses on the relationship of design and storytelling, specific to puppetry; the workshop leads participants in the designing of puppets.
3) Meet-the-Puppets: after the show, we present a ten-minute talkback, “Meet the Puppets,” in which we talk about the inspirations for the piece, and audience members can try their hand at operating the puppets in the show.
4) Create Your Own work: has participants creating their own theatre piece(s), while focusing on different skills: playwriting, dramaturgy, directing, and puppetry. Participants are given a specific topic(s) from which to create a piece, with the length of the pieces fluctuating based on the number and length of sessions.
5) Acting and Directing with Puppets: can be an introductory workshop or a master class and focuses on techniques that are unique to directing and acting with puppets.
6) Talkback with Audience or Special Focus Group.
7) Lecture/Demonstration: is presented with excerpts from the show as examples. The Lecture/Demo can focus on Our Creative Process, “Meet the Puppets,” Different Types of Puppetry, Manipulation of Puppets, Creating Puppet Plays, etc.
8) Introduction to Puppeteering and Puppet Manipulation.