On paper, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel’s “The Long Christmas Ride Home” is about just that: a family of five traveling to their grandparents’ home and to church during the holidays.
But on stage, the use of both actors and puppets brings a simple story to life in a big way.
Stage Left Theater’s production of “The Long Christmas Ride Home,” directed by Susan Hardie, opens Thursday and runs through Dec. 23.
Traditionally, the play utilizes an ancient Japanese style of puppetry called bunraku.
The play stars a couple, referred to as Man (JP O’Shaughnessy) and Woman (Pam Kingsley), who begin the play solely as narrators. Eventually, they transition into the role of parents, narrating when need be.
The couple’s children, Claire (Andrea Tate), Rebecca (Jennie Oliver) and Stephen (Cooper Wutzke), are initially played by puppets. As the children grow, the actors controlling the puppets set them aside and assume their roles.
Mathias Oliver will also appear as minister/dancer.
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