The Dragon King
About the Story
A terrible drought has taken over the land, and all the world has turned brown and lifeless. The Dragon King is the ruler of the waters, and people are beginning to wonder why he has not brought the precious rains for such a very long time. In Tanglewood Marionettes’ version of the tale, a wise Grandmother journeys to the bottom of the sea in search of the Dragon King and the answers to why he has forsaken the land above.
In Chinese mythology, there were four Dragon Kings who served as the divine rulers of the four seas. Each sea corresponds to one of the cardinal directions. Although they appeared in their true forms as dragons, they had the ability to shape-shift into human forms. Most Dragon Kings lived under the water in palaces made of crystal with legions of sea creatures as soldiers and servants.
Besides ruling over the sea and its inhabitants, the Dragon Kings were believed to rule water-related weather phenomenon, and in pre-modern times, many Chinese villages (especially those close to rivers and seas) had temples dedicated to their local Dragon King. In times of drought or flooding, it was customary for the local gentry and government officials to lead the community in offering sacrifices and conducting other religious rites to appease the dragon.
Style of Puppetry
Founded in 1993 by Anne and Peter Schaefer, Tanglewood Marionettes is a nationally touring marionette theater based in New England. Tanglewood Marionettes’ repertoire consists primarily of classic tales performed by skilled puppeteers who have spent many years perfecting their art. The company specializes in school assembly programs and has toured throughout the United States with National School Assemblies based in Valencia, California.
In 1997, 2001, and again in 2009, Tanglewood Marionettes was a featured performer at the Puppeteers of America National Festivals held in Toledo, OH, Tampa, FL, and Atlanta, GA. In 1990 and 2009, they received a Citation for Excellence in the Art of Puppetry from UNIMA-USA (the American branch of the Union Internationale de la Marionnette).
About the Puppeteers
Peter Schaefer was born into a family of puppeteers and has been performing with hand puppets, rod puppets, and marionettes since he was knee-high. After refining his skills with a local puppet company for several years, Peter purchased a marionette show from a retiring Boston puppeteer and launched his own company – Mountain Marionettes. After touring nationally for two years under the aegis of National School Assemblies, Peter decided to join forces with a fellow puppeteer and form a new company – Tanglewood Marionettes. Over his professional career, Peter has brought his unique marionette artistry to hundreds of thousands of children and families throughout the United States.
Jennifer Tebo discovered her love of puppetry while pursuing a degree in Theater and Classical Studies at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She began with a focus on Acting but quickly discovered an interest in technical theater, including lighting, costume, and especially scenic design. It was Jenn’s Scenic Design Professor, Miguel Romero, who cast her in her first puppet show and put her in contact with Anne and Peter Schaefer of the Tanglewood Marionettes. In addition to the marionette, Jenn has experience in hand, rod, and shadow puppetry as well as Bunraku, a traditional Japanese puppetry. She has been touring with Tanglewood Marionettes since her graduation in 2004 and plans to spend a lifetime in puppetry.