By Hue Nguyen
Puppetry is a dying art.
What was once prevalent on live stages has been renounced to children’s television shows, as the digital age continues to permeate into popular culture — but that may be about to change.
Calgary’s own Old Trout Puppet Workshop is redefining these archaic notions with their own style of pizazz and humour, showing the seemingly outdated medium of story-telling is a progressively current art form, and is far more than a reflection of a single genre.
The Old Trout Puppet Workshop is an eclectic group that isn’t strictly boxed by plays and puppetry, but strives to entertain and educate in all forms of art — from film to sculptures and anything in between.
Their play, “Famous Puppet Death Scenes,” is a provocatively intelligent and deliriously humorous examination of past and present perceptions of death. What the Old Trouts renown as a method of ‘curing your fear of death.’
Using an Einstein look-alike puppet as the narrator for the show, which is an amassment of a jam-packed 120 minutes, “Famous Puppet Death Scenes” collects segments ranging from five to 15 minutes of puppets meeting their end.
From Teletubby-esque puppets cheering and laughing prior to their demise — then suddenly to a son waiting patiently as his grandmother takes her last breath — the episodes are incredibly diverse in their scenes and characters.
Sporadic and without warning, the entire show is unabashedly unapologetic of its intentions on stirring emotion within its audience.
Having participated in Calgary’s International Festival of Animated Objects, which had run recently, The Old Trout Puppet Workshop is currently taking the show on a North American tour.