From Mary – Image is Everything
There is a color-copied image that still hangs on an office wall at Touchstone that I put up more than ten years ago. It is an enlarged image of what in reality was a fairly small puppet of a child holding a flute. At the time I was the marketing person for Touchstone, along with several other hats (that is always the way at small non-profits). The original came in a press packet from a small puppet theater in Vermont that we were presenting that season.
I was entranced by the photo, so I enlarged it and hung a copy by my desk. I’ve done some puppet theater myself (hand-puppets and marionettes in particular) where the puppeteer hides behind screens and pretends s/he doesn’t exist. I’d never seen a puppet quite like the one in the photo. I didn’t realize that I hadn’t ever seen a theater company quite like the one about to perform on our stage.
That puppet theater company was Sandglass.
The play was The Pig Act and had a circus theme. It was a play about the risks we take and the acts we are willing to perform for our soul’s survival. It was funny. It was frightening. It was compelling. It was gorgeous. What I remember most from the performance I saw was being spellbound by the artistry, the writing, and the amazingly glorious artistic precision required to create the kind of performances we saw from both puppet and puppeteer. Long before The Lion King and War Horse made puppetry in theater “cool” on a grand scale, Sandglass Theater was doing its thing. And doing it with simple, stunning beauty.
A few years later I left Touchstone for a while. When I returned to the fold five years later I was amused to find the image of the little creature from The Pig Act still hanging in its pride of place by the desk where I had sat. Amused… but not surprised. Things of transcendent beauty have a tendency of lasting long after the people have left.
I can’t wait to see what Sandglass has in store for us this time. And I wonder which image will be left on our office walls and in our imaginations for years to come.