Entertainment

New show features puppets behaving badly

Thursday, August 18, 2011
puppets Brian Henson

Most of us grew up with The Muppets and the Sesame Street gang. Now, the family of their creator is putting on a new adult puppet show on stage. The "Stuffed and Unstrung" show at the Curran Theatre features puppets behaving badly.

The puppets sure look like part of the Muppet family and they should. "Stuffed and Unstrung" is the Muppets gone adult. It's a show from Muppet creator Jim Henson's son Brian.

"We are basically getting to do a show that kind of is like what my dad and his friends always did when the cameras weren't rolling," said Brian.

It means it is irreverent, unpredictable, and yes, adult. The puppeteers are comedians and the show is all improv with suggestions from the audience, so no two shows are alike.

They have 80 puppets standing by to appear in the show.

"Every night any puppeteer can pick up any puppet and give it a completely different personality," said Brian.

Seeing how the puppeteers create movements on stage is like going onto the set of a TV show or watching it on a video screen like you would at home. The Henson puppet technique plays to a TV camera.

"We're watching a monitor that shows us what the camera is seeing and that's the way we work the puppet. We never look at the puppet or even think about the puppet. We just think about what we see on the TV screen," said Brian.

This is the first time these puppets have appeared together.

"What we've done with the show is we've mixed all of them together so they all have a Henson look to them because they all come from our sensibility, but they actually come from eight or 10 TV shows," said Brian. "The show is never mean, but it is quite adult, it's uncensored, but it's not mean."

And the late, late shows are adults only when the Curran will become a nightclub. "Stuffed and Unstrung" plays for two weeks.

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