Puppeteers perform at the O'Neill

Participants in the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's annual puppetry conference rehearse for the weekend performances.
Participants in the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's annual puppetry conference rehearse for the weekend performances. Sean D. Elliot/The Day Buy Photo

The summer season at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford has begun, and it's showcasing its first performances this weekend. That's when the always-inventive National Puppetry Conference puts its artists' creations in the spotlight.

On the program are projects developed over the course of the conference, dreamt up by emerging artists from around the U.S. Featured, too, will be marionette pieces that puppeteers have worked on, guided some of the genre's best artists.

"The Body Lautrec" by Aaron Cromie and Mary Tuomanen uses skeletal puppets inspired by the collection of the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. "Lautrec" is described as "a meditation on the life, work and maladies" of famed painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec.

"Hua Mulan: Holding Half The Sky" by Chinese Theatre Works uses masks, rod, shadow and hand puppetry, and it calls upon elements of classic Chinese opera. It's the first in a series of productions about the great women in Chinese history and legend.

And string puppetry will be featured in "Wunderkammer Vol. 2" by Alice Therese Gottschalk, Bradley Kemp, Raphael Mürle, and Frank Soehnle.

- KRISTINA DORSEY

National Puppetry Conference, performances 7 p.m. Fri. and Sat., Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, 305 Great Neck Road, Waterford; $28; (860) 443-1238.

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