There I was, in this fabulous puppet studio last night. The puppet-handlers in these photos weren't there. Just puppets like these. When I entered the studio, it was like stepping into a trippy dream. Puppets hung from the walls, from the ceiling, and the loopy, romping music of the People's Liberation Big Band was blasting freely. The Paul Mesner puppet studio is their rehearsal space. I had arrived to pick up Lilah, who was there to practice the small singing part she has in the PLBB's unconventional, whacked out version of the Nutcracker.
I got to see Brad Cox leading the band, and putting it all together. His musical directions are always pushing for more imagination and color : "That sounded too together. We need someone to play in the wrong place"....... "Here the sound should be full --not ugly, but full, big"...... "The snow needs to sound more sinister." He uses a toy piano in one section, which perfectly nails that tinkly feeling of being a kid at Christmas. Roger will be playing the real piano.
The upcoming performance, which will be Lilah's third time out doing the Nutcracker with the PLBB, is a bigger production than ever, bringing together the big band with the Owen/Cox Dance Group, led by Brad Cox's wife, and students from the Paseo Academy of the Performing Arts.