Winter Extravaganza!

by Vicky on January 2, 2012

Winter Extravaganza is a series of exciting programs at the library for school kids during their winter break.

This year I led two out of the three.  The first one was easy.  I taught two sessions on making origami star boxes and star-shaped books.  Since I’ve taught this class before, it felt like a walk in the park for me.

The second one was another story!  That was the one I had to come up with on my first day of work, when I learned that the previously planned program had fallen through.

I made the mistake of thinking aloud that it was too bad I didn’t have my musical partner to help produce The Nutcracker puppet show that had been such a success for us in Albuquerque last year.

My new boss, a dancer, loved the idea!  Before I knew it, I had not only agreed to produce a Nutcracker puppet show, but also to create Nutcracker puppet designs for the kids to make!

This time I had help from my colleague Mira, who was perfect to play the part of Godmama Drosselmayer, and my boss, Jill, was equally perfect as the Sugarplum Fairy.

I had looked at Stuart’s magical expanding Christmas tree from last year’s production as we were packing the truck and thought, “Nah, we won’t be needing that THIS year!”  So he heroically constructed a new one for our Stanwood production.  You can see it in the background behind Mira, clowning as the evil Mouse King.

This year I added the Spanish Dance, since I found my childhood marionnettes and untangled them as we were packing.

Since I had also left behind my Kingdom of Sweets backdrop, I was really happy to have the beautiful shadow puppet theater that Stuart built for me last summer.  I just removed the screen and hung it with fancy draping.

For the Tea Dance, the dancing tea bags were back, and the St. Nicholas doll and Bear puppet performed the Russian Dance.

My Unicorn puppet once again danced to the music for the Arabian Dance as Godmama Drosselmayer’s special gift to the children (in my old chidhood Victoria theater).

It was perfect to have two puppet theaters as part of our set, because that gave the kids more room for their newly constructed puppets to perform!

The kids could choose from three projects: a stick puppet Ballerina, a paper bag puppet Nutcracker, or a Mouse King mask.

My coworkers brought lots of beautiful ribbon and trim and doilies and bits of fabric and buttons, and gold and silver paper and gorgeous embellishments of all kinds for the Fairy Ballerina puppets.  

Since we used slim dowels for their rods, the ballerinas could pirouette beautifully!

For the Mouse King masks,  we started with the Mouse mask we designed last year and added a crown.

Voila!  Behold the Mouse King!

The Nutcracker paper bag puppets were the most complex of the three projects, because there were so many different elements to cut out.  The end product was so worth the extra work, though.  The puppets’ sword arms were able to whip to and fro for quite convincing duels.

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