In the early 1980s the Austin Public Library puppetry troupe consisted of Robbie Lueth and Ellen Scott. There were 15 branches of the Library and we would travel in the city car around town, to each branch, to present the current puppet show. The Traveling Puppet Theatre performances were well attended and our audiences were as enthusiastic as they are today.
We created King Midas and the Golden Touch in the early 1980s and launched it as a new show. In 1995, the basement of Faulk Central Library flooded, and some of the puppet shows that were stored there were ruined, this one included. Fast forward 30 years later, Literature Live! decided to recreate the show, by remaking the puppets, props, scenery, and rewriting the script. This video, The Making of Midas, gives you a “behind the scenes” window into how we build a puppet show.
It is interesting to compare the audiences from the 1980s to the ones today, who are a product of our modern world. Attention spans seem to have diminished and the idea of following a complicated or serious traditional folk or fairy tale is foreign to a lot of kids. However, we now have so many ways to enhance the live action medium of puppetry with special effects, a wealth of music with which to create soundtracks, and the capability to reach many more people with the art form.
Humor, chase scenes, magical tricks, and economy of words are all considered as we update our shows. Cultural appropriateness is always taken into consideration when we revisit the scripts. Literature Live! currently has 30 complete shows that we rotate through, often giving priority to seasonal or all-time favorites. King Midas begins June 4 and runs through July 20. Please join us this summer at the library location of your choice. Here’s a teaser to inspire you. See you at the theatre!