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Juniata to Stage Small-Scale Theatre Program

(Posted January 19, 2009)

The small world of a character named Marcovaldo is shown in the miniature play "La Ciudad."

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Theatergoers are used to productions that are larger than life, but Juniata College's theatre department has decided to go the other way by bringing in a performance by Great Small Works, a troupe of six theatre artists who stage miniature plays, at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 25 in the von Liebig Theatre in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

For tickets and information, please call (814) 641-JTIX (5849). General admission tickets for single performances are $20, except where otherwise noted. Because this production is in the smaller von Liebig Theatre, seating is limited. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID.

Great Small Works uses a variety of techniques, some dating back to the 19th century, to create miniature dramas and comedies. The original "toy theatre" productions of the 1800s were complete kits, modeled on the stage hits of the day, complete with scripts, scenery and characters.

The Juniata performance will include four miniature productions performed by the six members of the Small Works ensemble.

--"Definitely Maybe," is an adaptation of a science fiction novel by brothers Boris and Arkady Strugatsky. The story, written in Soviet Russia, is filled with literary wit and political whimsy.

--"A Short Entertaining History of Toy Theatre" is a one-man production in which actor John Bell sings his entire historical lecture -- accompanied by toy instruments.

--"A Walk in the City" is adapted from a novel by Italo Calvino and the plot revolves around Marcovaldo, an urban person who yearns to live in more natural surroundings.

--"La Ciudad" is a magic show in miniature, performed by a character called Copper Henningfield.
The performing troupe includes John Bell, a puppeteer and theatre historian, who started his career with Bread and Puppet Theater. Trudi Cohen also performed with Bread and Puppet Theatre and has performed as a puppeteer in a variety of theatrical productions. Other members of the ensemble are Shaunalynn Duffy, Stephen Kaplin, Jenny Romaine and Sam Wilson.

Great Small Works has toured throughout the county and internationally at such venues as the Jim Henson Foundation's International Festival of Puppet Theatre, the Puppeteers of America national festival, and the Mikrofestival in The Netherlands.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.