Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Entertainment: Theatre Festival: Festival of Animated Objects

When travelling to Calgary consider taking in one of Calgary's many wonderful festivals.

We volunteered with Single Volunteers at the Festival of Animated Objects which ran until January 30. What a wonderful introduction to the world of puppets and all things animated. I never knew puppets and marionettes were so entertaining. We were able to view the shows we volunteered at, and we attended a couple of other shows as well.

Ronnie Burkett, formerly a Calgarian whose studio / home was the old monastary at the end of the block we live on, was in attendance. We unfortunatley were not able to attend his performances, but all reviews say he was marvelous as usual. We have a water color of this residence done by a local artist Keith Fergeson. [The monastary is 2 blocks from Art's Place Guest House, and a block away from The Green Fools theatre group's former studio Crump Manor which was also the location of the after party.]

We enjoyed Phillip Huber, master marionette performer - we noted that what he did was very complicated and required a great deal of skill and talent. Art and I met him at the after festival party held in Crump Manor, just around the corner from Ronnie Burkett's former studio and residence. We chatted with Phillip at length about his craft. He was the puppeteer behind the incredible scenes that you see in Spike Jonze's film Being John Malcovich. One of the puppeteers that perfomed in the film Team America: World Police apprenticed under him. Though he was disappointed with the filmakers depiction of marionettes as awkward, Phillip Huber's work is wonderfully graceful.

Also a hit was Frank Meschkuleit. The performance we saw was the last ever performance of The Left Hand of Frank which was a hit at many Fringe Festivals and other shows across Canada, and elsewhere. He performed on the Muppets and Fraggle Rock among others.

The Festival of Animated Objects (by Calgary Animated Objects Society) will run again in January of 2007, depending on their sponsorship and funding. There was excellent coverage of the festival the FFWD Entertainment Weekly.

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