Thursday September 27, 2012

PUTNEY -- Three women, Half-fairy, Half-Tree, celebrate the passing of time through four seasons; a circus complete with acrobats and clowns as seen through the memories of a performing tiger; a "garbage monster" who reminds us not to pollute our water. These are three of the themes of the family shows Sandglass Theater is presenting as part of its eighth International Puppets in the Green Mountains Festival, which continues through Sept. 30 at venues in Dummerston, Brattleboro and Putney.

A tradition of the Festival is the offering of matinees for area students at reduced prices. Welcoming school groups to the Landmark College on Thursday at noon is "Garbage Monster," created by Turkey’s Cengiz Özek Shadow Theatre. In it, the ancient art of shadow puppetry goes contemporary as the impulsive, untamable peasant, Karagöz, brings humor, action, and insight to the theme of how we dispose of our trash and what price we pay for polluting our water. To make reservations for school group or homeschool group at the reduced ticket price, contact Sandglass Theater, 802-387-4051, or e-mail info@sandglasstheater.org. "Garbage Monster" can also be seen at the Scott Farm in Dummerston on Saturday (11 a.m. and 3 p.m.). A seasonal, localvore lunch is available after the 11 a.m. performance.

"Garbage Monster" is one of several performances for children including "Scenes from a Tree" and "Memories of a Circus Tiger."

Appealing to the very young and the young at heart, "Scenes From a Tree" at New England Youth Theatre on Saturday (11 a.m. and 3 p.m.) encourages children to hear and see the world as the tree sees it. Nathalie Derome and her Quebec Company developed this fanciful piece in collaboration with a group of creative educators, as well as the children, from a Montreal daycare center.

In it, three half-tree, half-fairy women celebrate the passing of time through the four seasons. Full of whimsy and the joy of play, this performance is a delightful invitation to original thought and freedom of being.

"Memories of a Circus Tiger" (Spain) at Landmark College on Sunday (11 a.m. and 3 p.m.) will tickle family funny-bones as contemporary circus performer, clown, acrobat, and master of balancing and fixed bar, Boris Ribas, presents a circus seen through the memories of a performing tiger.

Ribas is the son of celebrated Brazilian puppeteers Marcos and Rachel Ribas (Puppets in the Green Mountains 2008).

Other highlights include the Gala Premiere of "Black Birds of Bialystock," a collaboration between Sandglass Theater and Bialystock Puppet Theater of Poland. The gala is tonight at 8 p.m., at New England Youth Theatre in Brattleboro. Foreign dignitaries will be on hand for this important piece which examines Poland’s history of anti-semitism. "Black Birds of Bialystock" repeats on Friday at 8 p.m., at NEYT.

In addition to the offerings for children, Saturday features Spybird Theater’s "Eye of the Storm" at 5 and 10 p.m., at Sandglass Theater in Putney; Yael Rasooly’s "Paper Cut" at 8 p.m. at the Dummerston Grange; and the intriguing "John -- Eleanor" at 8 p.m., at Marlboro College. This piece, based on actual medieval court records about a cross-dresser in London, "John -- Eleanor" will also be presented on Sunday at 8 p.m., at Marlboro College.

On Sunday, Company of Strangers shows "Of Bread and Paper" at 5:30 p.m., at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center. Sandglass Theater’s "D-Generation: An Exaltation of Larks," based on true stories created by dementia patients, closes the festival on Sunday at 8 p.m., at NEYT.

Festival Club sessions, where people can gather in an informal setting with puppeteers and performers at the Putney Inn happen at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

A full schedule is available at www.puppetsinthegreenmountains.com. Tickets can be purchased online or at the walk-in box office at New England Youth Theatre, 100 Flat St., from noon to 4 p.m. until Friday, or by calling 802-0579-4554. Advance purchase is recommended. Venues are wheelchair -accessible.