Arm-of-the-Sea Theaterpresents its annual outdoor performance spectacle, The Esopus Creek Puppet Suite,in Saugerties on August 12 and 13. Drawing from history, literature, ecology and contemporary events, the PuppetSuitefuses visual enchantment with live music in an allegorical work of mask and puppet theater. Audiences of all ages and persuasions will find enjoyment in its low-tech immediacy and mythic reach.
The featured performance of this year’s Suite will be LA COSECHA / THE HARVEST, a poignant social drama presented in Spanish and English about an immigrant farm worker. The play’s central character is Cesar, a young man from Central America, who travels north looking for work. When he can’t pay the Coyote who smuggles him across the U.S. border, Cesar becomes tangled in a web of difficulties.
“Our storytelling process begins with sculpture and painting, adds music and movement, and then weaves in the words,” notes Marlena Marallo, artistic director of the company. “We hope to engage your senses and your sensibilities.”
Originally created in 2005, LA COSECHAgrew out of workshops Arm-of-the-Sea conducted with young people from farmworker families. The company has reworked the production this year show to reflect new realities along the border and in the national debate over immigration.
“Our food supply is maintained and delivered by a population of immigrant workers who are largely invisible to us,” remarks co-director Patrick Wadden. “LA COSECHA pulls back that curtain a bit.”
Veteran performers Carl Welden, Cathy Muller join Mr. Wadden to bring to life the show’s multi-scale paper-mache’ characters. The show’s two-man orchestra features Dean Jones on trombone, keyboard and percussion and Juan Basilio-Sanchez on vocals and guitar. The pair also create the voices for the play’s characters. Mr. Basilio-Sanchez, an immigrant from Nicaragua who lived through his country’s turbulent revolution, performs songs from the Nueva Cancion(New Song) canon, which grew out of Latin America’s movements for social change.
This year’s Puppet Suitealso coincides with the annual Saugerties Artists Studio Tour, in which forty-one artists open their studios to visitors. There is a dazzling array of artistry on full display. During the second weekend of August, make Saugerties your arts destination. For more information about the Studio Tour see http://www.saugertiesarttour.com
Based in Saugerties and now in its 29th season, Arm-of-the-Sea tours original productions throughout the Northeast and beyond, presenting an average of 100 performances annually at performing arts centers, festivals and schools. Recent credits include performances at the Clearwater Festival, Ocean County College (NJ), SUNY Ulster, Saratoga Arts Festival, Governor’s Island Festival and Tribeca Performing Arts Center in NYC.
The 2011Esopus Creek Puppet Suitewill begin at 8 pm at Tina Chorvas Waterfront Park on East Bridge Street, in the village of Saugerties. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children and $25 for a family of four. Tickets are available at the park entrance on the evening of the event. Audience members are encouraged to arrive early and bring lawn seating. Saugerties is located at Exit 20 on the NYS Thruway; follow signs to the Waterfront Park. If one of the evenings is rained out, the performance will be rescheduled for Sunday evening, August 15. For more information, visit www.ArmoftheSea.org or call 845-246-7873