Puppets thrill kids, adults
August 25, 2005

Although it is the age of electronic imagery, Arm-of-the-Sea Theater still creates handmade magic from recycled material. Its shows are lively and gracefully combine visual, performing and literary arts.

Patrick Wadden, co-founder of the Esopus Creek Festival, said the festival supplies the audience with something that works on a different level than mass media.

"Our themes are universal, our festival is for all ages and we move from classical to nontraditional to experimental, contemporary art forms," Wadden said.

Carl Welden, a member of the Esopus Creek Puppet Suite added: "Audience members have said they walk away inspired to paint, draw or create something new. And it's evident because our new volunteers have usually attended a previous show."

Arm-of-the-Sea's fifth annual festival is Friday and Saturday at Tina Chivoras Waterfront Park on East Bridge Street in Saugerties.

Family show first

When the festival opens at 7 p.m., three family-oriented shows are on tap. Mountain Laurel Waldorf School faculty will present "The Bamboo Princess"; The Leela Puppet Theatre will perform "Tarot's Street Show"; and Arm-of-the-Sea Theater will put on "La Cosecha/The Harvest," in Spanish and English.

After the sun sets, the Esopus Creek Puppet Suite presents "A Tale of Two Tribes" at 9 p.m. It is an allegorical tale of two groups that try to resolve a conflict, and it includes musical accompaniment by Dean Jones and Thomas Workman.

At 10 p.m., a puppet cabaret, for adults only, will feature a series of one-man shows: "Crone Chronicles" by Grian MacGregor of the Ivy Vine Players; "Foam Love" by In Ovo; and "Dances With Werewolves" by Welden.

Welden said the evening cabaret is a fascinating part of the festival.

"One never knows what you get," he said. "The short segment is packed with a variety of comedy, vaudeville and music."

Visitors are invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets.

If you go

What: Esopus Creek Festival. When: Friday-Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where: Tina Chorvas Waterfront Park, East Bridge Street, Saugerties.

Tickets: $10; $5, children.

Information: Call 845-246-7873 or visit www. armofthesea.org.

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