Puppeteers wanted for 'The Blue Bird' at MACC

Puppeteers wanted for 'The Blue Bird' at MACC

September 12th, 2012 by Emily Crisman in Local Regional News

Colleen Laliberte is directing Fred Arnold's "The Blue Bird," the first full-length puppet show for adult puppeteers to be held at the Mountain Arts Community Center, and is looking for puppeteers to help make the show come to life. An informational meeting for those interested is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. at MACC.

"The Blue Bird," the largest puppet show by longtime Chattanooga puppeteer Fred Arnold, features more than 50 puppets. Director Colleen Laliberte is seeking puppeteers to star in her first production of the show at MACC premiering in November and is holding a meeting for those interested in becoming puppeteers Thursday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. at MACC.

"This is my first undertaking of bringing 'The Blue Bird' back to the stage," said Laliberte of the show, which was last performed at the Oak Street Playhouse downtown in 2008. She purchased the play in its entirety - puppets, script and musical score - from Arnold when the longtime local puppeteer went into retirement.

At least 10 puppeteers from middle school age to adults are needed for the show, the largest created by Arnold, said Laliberte. The group will continue to meet Thursdays at 6 p.m. until the show opens Nov. 15.

"It's about man's search for the blue bird [that represents] happiness," Laliberte said of the show, which features the original puppets created by Arnold in 1988. "It's such a wonderful message."

Puppeteer experience is optional; to be a part of the cast one needs only have an interest in puppets and the strength to be able to hold them.

"It's a different performance experience than being in a play," said Laliberte. "It's so rewarding when you can present a performance in such a beautiful format."

At the first meeting, potential puppeteers will read through the script and listen to the soundtrack. Puppeteers will have their puppets lip-synch during the show as opposed to doing the voices themselves, she said.

Puppets are great for people who like to perform but want stay out of the spotlight, said Laliberte.

"It's wonderful to take something that has a fixed expression and make it look like they're expressing different emotions," she said of the joy of working with puppets.

Some of the puppeteers who helped with the children's puppet production "Beastie's Birthday Party" this summer are returning for "The Blue Bird." Laliberte said she hopes her group of puppeteers will continue to expand so she can offer more workshops and put on additional puppet productions at MACC.