Marionettes delight vacationing families

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Thu., Feb. 21, 2013
Penelope, 3, checks out the ballerina marionette after the performance on Feb. 20. Photos by Steve Smith.
Penelope, 3, checks out the ballerina marionette after the performance on Feb. 20. Photos by Steve Smith.

As the giant spider roamed the auditorium aisles at Smith Middle School, some of the children (and a few of the adults) were a little squeamish, but most were excited.

The spider, who was chasing a bumblebee, was one of the several acts in the Fairy Circus, performed on Feb. 20 by puppeteer Peter Schaefer of Tanglewood Marionettes, based in Ware, Mass.

Schaefer began the children's performance by telling children that simple objects, including just one's own hands, can be puppets. The circus's acts included a juggling clown, a ballerina, a snake charmer, a unicycle-riding kangaroo, and the giant spider. A bumblebee also made several appearances, bringing chaos to many of the other “performers.”

After the show, children were able to view the marionettes up close, and gently touch them. Schaefer said he routinely has to maintain the "actors" after they interact with children, but that is part of their general upkeep. Plus, he hinted that it also keeps him "in touch" with the characters.

Schaefer added that the name Tanglewood is a play on words, as the marionettes are primarily made of wood, and their strings often become tangled. The troupe travels all over New England, but has also been across the country.

Schaefer said he enjoyed performing for the kids in Glastonbury. “They were great,” he said. “Kids everywhere are great.”

For more information and a schedule of other Tanglewood Marionettes performances, visit www.tanglewoodmarionettes.com.


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