Puppet shows and demos (Apr. 26)

April 23, 2008

What surprises me about my kids’ relationship to puppets isn’t that it’s imaginative — that’s a given. It’s that they each branch out immediately in such different directions. M. wants the puppeteer to tell stories, usually by reading along with books and having the puppets act out the drama. S. wants to dance as the puppets sing, and the puppeteer is well advised to choose one of his favorite songs, either Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Pop Goes the Weasel. He’s only seen one “real” puppet show where the marionettes were telling a story, and he promptly fell asleep.

On Saturday (Apr. 26) the Missouri History Museum and the Regional Arts Commission are co-sponsoring a tribute to the genre to mark the National Day of Puppetry. There are 45-minute puppet workshops at 11:30 and 1:30 p.m., followed by performances of the same length at noon and 2:30 p.m. These are hands-on events that take place throughout the museum, and they’re all free. For details, visit the museum’s calendar (scroll down the right date) or call 314.454.3150. The regular weekly Storytelling in the Galleries (also free, Fridays at 10:30 a.m. for ages 2 to 6 and Saturdays at 1 p.m. for ages 10 and under) also picks up the puppetry theme, with kids using hand puppets to act out the stories. Ah, perfect for M.! It meets in the exhibit Seeking St. Louis: Reflections.

Other free events at the museum this weekend include a self-guided, five-mile bike ride through some of Forest Park’s lesser-known routes, teens acting in Streetcar Stops on the front lawn at the trolley at 11:30 a.m., and the 2 p.m. Gallery Talk about what the condition of artifacts can tell us about their history.

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