In the heart of midtown Minneapolis is the In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre – a place I had never been to before, but drive past every day on my way to work. This past weekend my kiddos and I were invited to attend their latest production Winter Dreams and had a wonderful time! I’m excited to share it with you today.
The show was truly breathtaking – the kids were completely smitten and on the edge of their seats the entire time, from the puppets (some shadow puppets, some full costumes) and the live music accompanying the show, to the beautiful set and the fabulous acting. Winter Dreams is written around the idea of animals hibernating for the winter. My children love, love, love animals and learning as much as they can about them, so this was right up our alley. The story focuses on a wolf cub, separated from his pack, who visits several animals as they prepare to hibernate for winter. Some of the animals he visits are bears, groundhogs, wolves, snakes, turtles, rabbits and more.
Not all of the animals in the show hibernate (wolves and rabbits don’t… ) but were central characters to help tell the story of the other animals. I remember laughing, and of course, tweeting, at my children were like wolves in the lobby during intermission, evidence they were learning something powerful. After the show, we were invited to take a private tour back stage and meet many of the puppets. Here are some of my pics (instagram style, of course):
It is a full theatre with a large stage, here you can see some of the set , a winter scene. Parts of the snowy rocks open up to show animals hibernating throughout the show.
The rabbit was a playful character who appeared a few times during the show.
And the moon was one of our favorites…
The wolf family is stunning – their colors are gorgeous and Alex and Avery loved trying on the masks.
There was a snow monster/winter monster who brought the weather with him and a few of the kiddos had a tough time with him. It seemed in general that the kiddos under 3 have a tougher time distinguising real from pretend and were a bit freaked out by him. His actions on stage weren’t scary – in fact he was light hearted and a bit funny – but his face is a bit intimidating…
My friend Brenda attended with us and our daughters (both the same age, both named Avery) had a great time together. Alex, my 6 year old really enjoyed the show, too.
Special thanks to the theatre for inviting us and to Soozin for spending time with us and teaching us so much about the puppets and the theatre! We were very impressed with the puppets and the people behind them. I was also particularly impressed with the diversity of the audience and the outreach efforts to expose the local neighborhood children to the theatre.
You can learn more about Winter Dreams and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre on the web. They also have Saturday morning puppet shows and offer “pay what you can” seats 20 minutes before the shows.
Disclosure – In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre provided us with free tickets to the show, which we really appreciate. The top two photos here are provided by the theatre, taken by Bruce Silcox. The rest of the (square) photos and opinions are mine.
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