Wump Mucket Puppets had a great time performing our Bee Happy puppet show at Rockdale Academy, which is an elementary school within the Cincinnati Public Schools system. Our show was part of the school’s Global Conservation Day.
I wrote “Bee Happy” during the Winter/Spring of 2017, to perform it throughout the Summer at libraries, schools, and special events. I was inspired by my mother, who is retired and keeps bees at her home in New Hampshire. While speaking with her on the phone, we agreed that children are often afraid of bees, and should learn more about how they are very important to our world.
I cast our super space princess G’Wizzl (see above photo) in the featured story, having her land on Earth to meet a worker bee who tells her how helpful bees are, she is then invited back to the bee hive to meet Q.B. the Queen Bee. During the later part of the story, G’Wizzl invites the audience to stand up to do a bee dance with her. It was a better idea to have the 250+ students stay seated, and “dance along” by clapping and moving along to my electronic “bee music”. The children were fantastic “bee dancers”.
I am very pleased that the show fit in with the school’s curriculum “BEE-utifully”. Both the faculty and students told me how much they enjoyed the show. This is very pleasing for me to hear, because it means that my puppetry is both entertaining and educational. This was my second time performing for the Cincinnati Public Schools this year, and based upon this experience, I am looking forward to “buzzing” this fun puppet show throughout the school system and beyond.
The calendar says that today is the first day of Autumn, although in Cincinnati it feels like mid-August. Yuck. I am not a fan of hot and sticky weather.
Today will also be the final performance of my “Bee Happy” show for 2017. That is unless I receive a request to perform it again. Don’t worry if you missed it, we’ll be bringing it back next Spring. It has been a great show to perform, and marks the first show that I have sang along to music that I have created, through the puppets of course. I really enjoy singing, although sometimes it’s been a challenge to sing in the puppet’s voice.
Tonight’s performance will be at the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati. I have been donating puppet shows there since the summer of 2012, and enjoy working with their staff. While my audience is often small, the children and families who I perform for are appreciative. I love providing them with a half hour of silliness, and help them with the healing process through laughter.
With October around the corner, our newest puppet “Gourdon” is nearing completion. I began sculpting his head out of clay in June. My daughter asked me to watch the TV show “Over The Garden Wall” with her. In one of the episodes there is a village of pumpkin people who I found most interesting. They reminded me of “Jack Pumpkinhead” from L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. I also enjoy vintage Halloween greeting cards and decorations featuring jack-o-lanterns. When I returned from our East Coast tour in mid-August I began working on “Gourdon”, using paper mache. I really enjoyed building our latest cast member. Please come see him at our October shows.
A post shared by Wump Mucket Puppets (@wumpmucketpuppets) on
When “Gourdon” is finished, it’s time to build another traditional hand puppet for our “Frozen Follies” holiday show. This puppet will be included in our new skit “The Many Names of Santa Claus”. I will be posting photos to the Wump Mucket Puppets official Facebook page as the building progresses to give our friends and fans a chance to view the puppet building progress. Please give our page a “like”. Thanks for reading this. Puppets ROCK!
Summer is the busiest time of year for “road warrior” puppeteers, and children’s entertainers. We pack our vehicles with sound equipment, props, and puppets to travel the highways and back roads of America, sharing joy and with children.
For many of these kids, these shows are their first exposure to live theatre/performance art. I love hearing their small voices, as they enter the libraries, looking at my stage with anticipation and chattering, “It’s a puppet show, a puppet show!”
During the show, I can hear them talking to my puppet cast, responding to jokes, or giggling to the silliness on stage. The magic is working. The children are not looking at pieces of foam, fleece, or paper mache. They have entered the world of my imagination, populated by a Sea Serpent, a Sasquatch, and their fellow cast members. For the next thirty minutes, my young audience has temporarily left any worries of the real world behind. Their reward? A giggle, a song or two, and a happy memory of the day that they went to the library to see a puppet show. This memory is a treasure that they will keep forever.
We are thrilled to share this exclusive coloring page drawn by Cincinnati author/illustrator Mark Neeley: (click on image and print out)
Mark has been a friend of ours for several years and we are honored by his wonderfully playful art of the Wump Mucket Puppets. Please visit his website www.MarkNeeley.comto learn more about his books and art projects.
Be sure to share your finished coloring page on our Facebook page too!
We’ve been working hard for the past six months to bring our new BEE HAPPY show to the stage and I look forward to performing it for you very soon. Ever wonder how the ideas for this show came about?
The opening act is called Coleman’s Green Team, and touches on a subject that addresses an important ecology topic, littering. In this segment of the show Coleman the Sasquatch gently reminds the audience that we need to get bitter about litter. I live in an urban neighborhood of Cincinnati, and pick up trash daily. I find this most upsetting, and decided to help share a positive message through puppetry, that littering is ugly and we all need to pitch in and help stop it. I remember when I was a boy, watchingWoodsy Owl inTV commercials, encouraging everyone to “Give a hoot, don’t pollute”.
The Bee Happy segment of the show is inspired by my mother, who is an amateur apiarist, or beekeeper. For several years she has kept bees, and as I write this blog is visiting Eastern Europe, learning new methods. I recall being frightened of bees as a boy, and think that this is a good opportunity to help children understand more about bees, and how connected they are to so many of the fruits and vegetables that we enjoy. I hope that my young audience will enjoy G’Wizzl’s visit with QB the Queen Bee, a fantastic new puppet created by my wife Lara Rumizen. The closing song to this skit is rather catchy too!
The show is rounded out by Cyril and Coleman’s silliness, and we’ll have Unka Unka the caveman trying to plant a flower garden, right on the puppet stage!
As an special treat for our fans who enjoy coloring, Cincinnati author/illustratorMark Neeleyhas drawn a BEE-utiful new coloring page that everyone can download to print out on June 1st. I love his comical version of our puppet stars, and thank him for this wonderful contribution. BEE sure to share your finished coloring page on our Facebook page for everyone to see!