The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia is respected around the world for its innovative puppet show presentations of literature.
The company presents a colorful puppet production of "Treasured Stories of Eric Carle" on Saturday at the Gallo Center for the Arts. The 45-minute show will bring to life three popular books by children's author and illustrator Eric Carle: "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do you See?" and "Please Papa Get the Moon For Me."
The production is designed to appeal to children ages 2 to 8. After the show, there will be a 10-minute question-and-answer period where the children can ask about the puppets and the puppeteers.
The show uses black-light puppetry, in which ultraviolet lighting hides the puppeteer and emphasizes the bright fluorescent colors of the puppets. The puppeteers perform dressed in black so they can't be seen. Sarah-Jean Begin, who is a puppeteer in the show, said children in the audience sometimes wonder if the puppets are robots.
"Eric Carle is great for this because his illustrations are so beautiful and so expressive they lend themselves well to the black-light mode of performance we do with the show," Begin said. "His illustrations are so brightly colored they pop under the black light."
Begin got involved with puppetry while studying to be an actor at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, just 20 minutes from Mermaid Theatre's headquarters. She never had thought of becoming involved with the art form before, but she was impressed with what she heard when representatives from the theater came to speak to her class.
The theater has given her a chance to travel the world and entertain families. She likes that the shows are designed to be relaxed.
"Treasured Stories" is a "no-shushing show," she said, explaining that the kids are allowed to yell out comments and respond to questions from the stage.
"When we say it's a no-shushing show, you can kind of hear all the parents breathe a sigh of relief. It makes it really fun for everyone," Begin said.
WHAT: "Treasured Stories by Eric Carle"
WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Foster Theater, Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto
CALL: (209) 338-2100