Literature 8-6-2006

Fringe Shorts: Sock Puppet Serenade

Kim Surkan was thoroughly entranced by "Sock Puppet Serenade" from Kurt Hunter Marionettes, at the Theater Garage at 711 Franklin Avenue. You can catch it Sunday, Aug. 6 at 4 PM, Monday 8/7 at 7 PM, or Sunday, 8/13 at 4PM.

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When most people think of sock puppets, they think of that age-old, very economical children’s toy that’s never any farther away than the top dresser drawer. Pull one over a hand and you have an instant plaything! But the ubiquitous hand puppet is not featured at all in Kurt Hunter’s Sock Puppet Serenade – he is rather the master of the marionette.

For those who aren’t familiar with the nuances of puppetry, a marionette is a puppet with strings – a minimum of nine, to be exact, as Hunter’s wooden emcee is quick to inform his audience at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage.

Sock Puppet Serenade is a wonderful demonstration of just how creative it is possible to be with some string and inanimate objects of all shapes and sizes. Hunter can make almost anything a fascinating object of his audience’ attention, and he does just that in this one-hour show – creating fuzzy whirligigs that fly across the stage, animating shirts, and even making cardboard boxes dance.

The sole puppeteer in his show, Hunter makes his cast of puppets emerge one at a time, performing entertaining monologues and sketches ranging from the hatching of a bird from an egg to a puppet that manages to blow up a balloon and use it to float away. Hunter is a great storyteller as well as a man with possession of fine motor skills, and he keeps his audience riveted on the bits of cloth and cardboard he has transformed into endearing little creatures with moves all their own.