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BANGOR – A Dickensian classic has been given a whole new look courtesy of a collaboration between Penobscot Theatre Company and Atlanta’s The Object Group.

“A Christmas Carol” is part of PTC’s Digitus Theatrum season, a filmed experience that features iconic local actor Ken Stack not just reprising his beloved portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge, but voicing all of the characters in the Dickens original via his own adaptation of the story. All this is brought to life via the stylized, intricate puppets and puppetry of The Object Group as directed by Michael Haverty.

It’s a visually striking production, with a unique aesthetic that renders it quite unlike any other version of “A Christmas Carol” that you’ve seen. It balances the traditional tone of the story with explorations of both the spookiness and silliness inherent to the tale. A household link – viewable as many times as you like – can be purchased by going to PTC’s website at www.penobscottheatre.org or by contacting the box office at 942-3333.

Published in Buzz

I’ve always loved the Muppets. From their anarchic weirdo beginnings through every family-friendly iteration that followed, I was all in on Jim Henson’s fuzzy felted creations … though I always had a stronger connection to their darker side, whether it was overt or subtly lingering just beneath the surface.

“The Happytime Murders,” produced by Henson Alternative, the adult-oriented arm of the company, is very much connected to that darker side. Oh, and it’s definitely overt – this movie is a lot of things, but subtle is not one of them. Brian Henson, son of the legendary puppeteer, directs from a screenplay by Todd Berger.

It’s a comic noir vision of a world in which puppets and humans exist side by side, packed with foul language and incessant innuendo. It is a film that revels in its tastelessness, unafraid to get down and really wallow in the mire. It is coarse and crass and not for everyone.

As you might have guessed, I dug it.

Published in Movies
UMaine presents a grown-up puppet musical
ORONO - From childhood, I've had an affinity for puppets. There's a wonderful anarchy that puppets seem to inspire that can result in moments that are engaging and absurd at the same time. Throw in the element of music and the potential for joyful chaos is maximized. It's the chance to create work that tells a story in a very unique way.

'Avenue Q,' the musical by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marz and Jeff Whitty, is that sort of work. A production of the Tony-winning show is currently being mounted by the University of Maine's School of Performing Arts. The show is directed by Sandra Hardy and musically directed by Danny Williams; it is being performed in Hauck Auditorium and runs through Feb. 19.


Published in Happenings

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