A few weeks ago, I transported my family back in time to the world of marionettes through a performance of the well-known fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, Hansel and Gretel (Hänsel und Grete). Marionette is the proper name for a puppet controlled from above via wires or strings.
I have found an absolute gem of a place called Geppetto’s Theather where I can take my children to see classic old-school marionette shows.
My three boys; now 4 yrs and 24 months old, sat through the WHOLE performance of Hansel and Gretel. Even last year, with my 3 very young boys, they sat through and watched The Drummer Boy marionette show. My German mother-in-law, Oma Ingrid, had come to visit us and I knew she would appreciate and adore a marionette performance. This year, I took my mom along with us as the shows are also great entertainment for adults.
As one descends down the steps into the theater, you will slowly have the amazing feeling of being transported back in time. Wow, this theater is just wow!!
It looks something quaint like an old general store with the smell of fresh popcorn popping, dark wooden benches and tables, inexpensive puppets and goods for purchase, and a curtain leading you into a proper marionette theater. The place feels truly magical, and all the people working at the theater, puppeteers and crew, are so very helpful and kind.
For the show, everyone must line up with their tickets, for punching, and are then led into the magical theater where they are transported into a world of culture and old-school classic entertainment.
My boys held on to their tickets as if they were pure gold (or about to board the polar express) especially once they had been punched. After everyone is seated, only kids on the first 2 rows, or with parents starting with row 3, the show opens with an introduction via a masterminder (puppeteer) and a short explanation about the time frame and how the puppets are made and controlled.
Some additional information: Geppetto’s Theater is located inside the beautiful Hilton Anatole. Once inside the Hilton, look across from the gift shop for the Theater sign. Parking is at the main entrance to the Anatole and the theater validates your parking so you only have to pay $5 instead of $14. Once inside, it is easy to spot the theater. You will go down a flight of stairs to be transported back to time. Due to fire regulations and limited space, strollers are not permitted. You can purchase popcorn, candy and drinks which you can eat before and during the performance. The theater caters to families in so many ways but also allows the magic and simplicity of a marionette show to come alive in such a fast paced, tech ready world.
Gretl Aicher, who had directed the Salzburg Marionette Theater in Austria, until 2012, said “What then is the fascination of a life with marionettes? Is it the pleasure of performing? The appeal of mastering an ‘instrument’ to the point of virtuosity? The transformation of one’s own self? For me, it is the process of empathizing with mind and soul, of feeling at one with music and movement that bring these much loved creatures to life.”
Have you seen a marionette show? If you live in Dallas, or if you are passing through, I highly recommend this opportunity to transport your family back in time; fill your world with delight and enchantment from this gem of a theater and old-school entertainment rich in culture and value. Enrich your children’s experiences, away from screen based entertainment, and show them the amazing world of wooden marionettes. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets. Geppetto’s Theater for Marionette Puppet Shows, Dallas, TX