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Mexican Marionette show reimagines “Sleeping Beauty”

Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

(Once upon a time, there was a puppet company in Mexico that wanted to tell the timeless tale of Sleeping Beauty in a new way.

No witches … no spinning wheels … but with the same king and queen who simply wanted to keep their daughter safe from danger. See what happens when an adventurous princess and the handsome boy next door set out on their separate quests as Harris Center for the Arts presents Marionetas de la Esquina “Sleeping Beauty Dreams” on May 17.

The U.S. premiere of “Sleeping Beauty Dreams” in February 2013 was co-commissioned with the Kennedy Center for the Arts and Marionetas de la Esquina. It features fantastical characters and multimedia dreamscapes and marionettes that are constructed to move as much like humans as possible. DC Metro Theater Arts declared, “’Sleeping Beauty Dreams’ was a fantastical magical escapade for any and all who had the pleasure to be sitting in the audience.”

“Sleeping Beauty Dreams,” written by award-winning playwright Amaranta Leyva, re-imagines the famous princess as an overprotected daughter looking for a way to break free of her castle walls in order to search for true love and her true self.

“Writing for young audiences lets me explore the intimate emotions that adults sometimes forget and children sometimes are not given the ‘space’ to express,” Leyva said. “Puppets have a magical quality that transports the audience. It’s an experience that’s different from movies or video games, and I believe the emotions and feelings that children have with a live performance stay with them longer. It’s about how far we can go without having any freedom for the children.”

“Sleeping Beauty Dreams” is intended to speak to elementary school-aged children, but the beauty of the show can be appreciated by all ages, said Artists Manager Robin Klinger. “It’s a nice take on a fairy tale from a Mexican point of view,” Klinger explained. “And it’s coming from a nicer place than the old fairy tale. They are not trying to kill anybody.”

Marionetas de la Esquina, a puppet theater company from Mexico, has been entertaining children and adults alike since 1975. It is a family-owned and operated company where Amaranta Leyva’s father designs the puppets, her mother directs the play and her cousin handles the multimedia designs. They can perform their shows in English and Spanish and have given more than 11,000 performances and 50 workshops and seminars. Since their creation, the company has helped disseminate and develop the art of puppetry in Mexico.

The company keeps a repertoire of 10 shows, each a testimony to the company’s wish to experiment with all aspects of puppet theater, from set and puppet design to dramaturgy. The company has a variety of themes, stages and puppets that have won recognition in Mexico and abroad.

In 2004, the company was recognized by CONACULTA and included in the program Mexico en Escena (Mexico on Stage), a program that supports experienced and renowned groups. In 2006, company member and playwright Amaranta Leyva received the Mexican National Prize for Children’s Theater for her play The Dress.

Marionetas de la Esquina Sleeping Beauty Dreams will take the stage at 1, 4 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 17, and noon and 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 18. Tickets are $15 to $19. Purchase tickets online at harriscenter.net or from Harris Center ticket office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street.

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Posted by on May 11 2014.
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