Step right up, ladies and gentleman, Dr. Hezekiah Bigelow’s Wild West Puppet Show is a-rollin’ into town. Tall Tales is what he’s telling and Tall Tale Tonic is what he’s selling. This historical hoedown honors American heroes by spinning tales taller than a ten-gallon hat! Enjoy twangy tunes as this musical extravaganza recounts how Paul Bunyan and his devoted friend, Babe the Blue Ox, invent logging; how Hekeke saves her tribe from a people-eating ogre; how John Henry becomes a steel-driving man; and how Pecos Bill becomes King of the Cowboys.
This special afternoon will allow guests with autism spectrum disorder to experience a sensory-friendly performance of “Paul Bunyan and the Tall Tale Medicine Show,” as well as a sensory-friendly Museum visit and Create-A-Puppet workshop.
Several alterations will be employed in the theater to create a comfortable setting for guests with ASD, such as a pre-show demo, lights on (but dimmed) inside the theater, consistent sound levels and lower volume of the show soundtrack, freedom for children to talk and to leave their seat if necessary, a quiet zone in the lobby, and permission for guests to bring quiet, contained snacks and beverages to enjoy during the performance.
The sensory-friendly adjustments in the museum will include additional staff, brighter lighting, and “touch tables” for a more hands on experience. In the workshop, there will be less sensory stimulation and teaching artists have been trained on how to best interact with guests with ASD.
Tickets include the sensory-friendly Performance, Museum entry and the Create-A-Puppet Workshop where visitors can make their own friendly Babe the Blue Ox hand puppet to take home.
Behind the Scenes of Paul Bunyan and the Tall Tale Medicine Show
About Tall Tales Tall tales are humorously exaggerated, outrageously improbable stories of the larger-than-life
adventures of American frontiersmen and women. Originating in the 1820s, this genre is still popular today. Although tall tales are not strictly true, they do reference actual circumstances from
About the Style of Puppetry Paul Bunyan and the Tall Tale Medicine Show is performed by five puppeteers using a variety of puppetry styles: hand, hand-and-rod, and shadow puppets. One example of a hand puppet is Yayali the ogre. Because this character is so large, it hangs by cables suspended from the top of the stage. A puppeteer uses his hands to open and close Yayali’s enormous mouth. Hand-and-rod puppets, such as Hot Biscuit Betty, are operated by placing one hand inside the head of the puppet to turn the puppet’s head and open and close its mouth, while the puppeteer provides the character’s voice. The puppeteer’s other hand operates the control rods attached to the puppet’s hands. You will also see shadow puppets in our show. Shadow puppets like John Henry are flat figures performed on an overhead projector. The audience never really sees the puppet itself, but its enlarged silhouette image on the shadow screen. Character voices are all performed live by the cast. Each puppeteer wears a cordless microphone to amplify her/his voice.
About the Puppeteers
Dolph Amick (Dr. Hezekiah Bigelow, Ogre) is psyched as psnake oil to perform in Paul Bunyan and the Tall Tale Medicine Show in such an oddly visible role. You may have not seen him as he has performed in such Center for Puppetry Arts shows as Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Charlotte’s Web, or as he played bass for West Side Story (Fabrefaction Theatre). He is the composer for the Center’s upcoming production of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type and last year’s Shake a Tale Feather with Mother Goose, as well as the composer and producer of the CD Peas on Earth (Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre). Though he is currently recording country and electronic pop CDs, as well as playing with his band Three Quarter Ale, his biggest current art project remains the rearing of his amazing three-year-old son, Valentine. Love to Valentine and his hilarious wife, Kara, and love and welcome to stage manager Jessica.
S. Renee Clark (Pert Near Pat) is thrilled to be back at the Center for Puppetry Arts. Her career spans over 30 years across many genres of music. She toured Europe, the Middle East, and Africa for twelve years as a solo vocalist/pianist. Here at the Center you may remember her from Ruth and the Green Book and Brer Rabbit & Friends. You've probably seen and heard her contributions locally at Horizon Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Alliance Theatre, Theatre In The Square, Shakespeare Tavern, Youth Ensemble of Atlanta, Fabrefaction, Georgia State University, Clayton State University, Spellman College, Clark/Atlanta University, and The Dawn Axam Dance Theatre Experience. She is a two time Suzi Award recipient. She continues to work at many churches in honor of her roots. She also works in the Tri Cities High School Performing Arts Magnet Department. She can be found coaching Seniors, training tots, and then performing at jazz clubs across the city. She was the co-writer and composer of Travelin’ Black. Big thanks to my daughter Lene and my mother for your love and support. But God gets all the glory.
Reay Kaplan (Hot Biscuit Betty, Paul Bunny) has been a professional actor and puppeteer in Atlanta since 1999. In addition to performing in nearly 30 productions at the Center, her work has been seen at Synchronicity Theater, The Alliance Theater, Haverty Marionettes, Dad’s Garage, and 7 Stages. In addition to live performing, Reay is a voice over artist with Atlanta Models and Talent and her voice can be heard narrating audio books from time to time. Reay is over the moon to be playing with Paul Bunny, Hot Biscuit Betty and all her Tall Tale friends again. Much love and thanks to the cast and crew, as well as loads of love to her very cowpokes, Ethan and Eliza.
Seth Langer (Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill) is a theater-maker based in Atlanta. He's had the opportunity to create with Georgia Shakespeare, Theatrical Outfit, Théâtre du Rêve, Theater Emory, Fulham and Clapham Present, among others. In addition to performing, he directs and produces his own and others' independent work. Previous Center shows include Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat and Rainforest Adventures. Given the opportunity, he will sing and play the ukulele for you. He loves to travel, and has performed at festivals in Edinburgh and Montreal. He also studied physical theatre in Arezzo, Italy. Have fun, everybody!
Stephanie Lloyd (Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett, Babe the Blue Ox, Hekeke) couldn’t be more excited to be making her debut at the Center For Puppetry Arts. She graduated from Elon University with a BFA in Music Theatre and a minor in Communications and has loved living in Atlanta for the past few years. Local credits include Courage (The Alliance Theater), The Rocky Horror Show (Actor’s Express), The Lawrenceville Ghost Tours (The Aurora Theater), and Anything Goes (The Atlanta Lyric Theatre). Stephanie also performs regionally at venues including Hershey Park, Sea World San Antonio, The Lost Colony, and Seaside Music Theater. In addition to also furthering her career in film and TV, Stephanie is a self- taught painter whose work can be seen around Atlanta. She would like to thank Jon and everyone at the Center for this amazing opportunity!