Theatre company pulls strings

Ali Quas-Cohen of Funny Wonders with Paul Harrison and Emma Craufurd-Stuart.
Ali Quas-Cohen of Funny Wonders with Paul Harrison and Emma Craufurd-Stuart.
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Buxton Drama League has faced a unique challenge in putting together its latest production.

This week’s presentation of Alan Ayckbourn’s classic comedy Season’s Greetings includes a memorable scene in which one of the characters stages a terrible puppet show.

Director Robbie Carnegie exsaid: “As with all Alan Ayckbourn’s plays, he’s very specific about what has to happen on stage. In Season’s Greetings, his character Bernard stages a play which requires three little pigs, a wolf, a postman and a dog!

“Where would we get these puppets, and who would teach our actors how to operate them? I’m always keen to collaborate with other local groups (we brought in local folk musicians for my past show, The Winter’s Tale), so I had the idea of contacting Buxton’s puppet theatre, Funny Wonders, to help us.”

Ali Quas-Cohen from Funny Wonders said: “It is great to link up with other Buxton organisations and we were thrilled to be asked to make Bernard’s puppets. It was initially daunting as marionettes are not something we’ve focussed on in the past but the “they need to look homemade” brief was reassuring!

“The puppets took over two months to make. We had a couple workshops with the BDL and the Funny Wonders team – it’s always great to get people involved and work together, particularly when there is so much papier mâchéing to do!

They had their challenges,such as needing to be operated with just one hand and making them with materials Bernard would have had at home and in a way such a character would have made them but I think we got there.”

Robbie adds: “With Ali’s help, we now have these fantastic puppets.It promises to be an unforgettable part of this hilarious play.”

Find out how actor Paul Harrison copes with the marionettes in Bernard’s puppet show when Season’s Greetings opens at Buxton’s Pavilion Arts Centre tonight (Thursday, November 26). The show runs until Saturday, November 29, with performances at 7.30pm each evening and a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm. Tickets are available from the Opera House box office on 01298 72190 or www.buxtonoperahous.org.uk