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The Gazette KCRG
Posted May 15, 2012
Acclaimed Vermont puppet theater presents musical love story, workshops and panel

From a media release

Sandglass Puppets

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The internationally acclaimed Sandglass Puppet Theater will hold a weeklong residency at CSPS Hall from May 21 to 25, 2012, with workshops, a panel discussion and two performances of the musical love story “All Weather Ballads.”

Sandglass Theater has pushed the boundaries of puppet theater for 30 years. Founded in Germany by Eric Bass and Ines Zeller Bass, the Vermont-based company mingles puppets and human performers to moving and whimsical effect.

“All Weather Ballads” is a little like a folk music concert inside a puppet show. The unconventional drama follows one couple, from childhood to old age, as they face the elements of rural Vermont — stuck in the mud, lost in the aroma of harvest fruit and reflected in the frozen membrane of an icy lake. “All Weather Ballads” was written for adults but is suitable for ages 12 and up.

Performance times are 7 p.m. Thursday, May 24, and 8 p.m. Friday, May 25, 2012. Tickets are $14 in advance and $17 at the door. CSPS is located at 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids.

The workshops are Tuesday, May 22, at Eulenspiegel’s theater in West Liberty and Wednesday, May 23, at CSPS Hall. Both workshops run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Registration is $14 and includes admission to a performance of “All Weather Ballads.” Workshops are limited to 18 participants each.

Eric and Ines also will lead a free panel discussion Sunday, May 27, at 2 p.m. at CSPS. The panel, in keeping with the subject of the musical, will be how extreme weather can create community and identity.

To purchase tickets or register for a workshop, go to www.legionarts.org or call (319) 364-1580.

Whimsical, wistful and moving

Sandglass Under Ice

From the opening vignette (backed by the sounds of snowmobile motors created by kazoos, a fish-hunting pig gets his nose stuck in the ice) to the closing scene (the couple, sawing firewood, sings, “How much is a lifetime in logs?”), ”All Weather Ballads” is a charming and cutting delight.

Each scene is beautifully imagined, filled with moments that are by turns whimsical, wistful and profoundly moving,” wrote Broadway World. “The puppets, though no larger than their masters’ forearms … are wondrously detailed, supple at the joints, and manipulated by the Basses with great sensitivity to the slightest gestures.”

“All Weather Ballads” incorporates original ballads by Eric Bass with a haunting score by Keith Murphy. Eric and Ines are joined on stage by multi-instrumentalist Nick Keil.

Sandglass’ extensive repertoire for both adults and young audiences has toured worldwide and earned several Citations of Excellence from UNIMA and many other awards in Europe, Australia and the United States. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Sandglass a touring grant to bring All Weather Ballads to rural areas in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest.

Legion Arts is presenting the residency in partnership with the National Performance Network. Legion Arts has presented cutting edge art, music, theatre, film and other events at CSPS Hall and other venues for the last 25 years. The artist-run non-profit supports young artists, experimental art forms and new ideas.

The National Performance Network (NPN) is a multistate group of cultural organizers and artists facilitating the practice and public experience of the performing arts in the United States.

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