Home > Art, The Family > The Lantern (OSU): Play Engages in Puppet Petting (CONTENT WARNING)

The Lantern (OSU): Play Engages in Puppet Petting (CONTENT WARNING)

21 May 2010

From here

AIDS, homosexual sex and love affairs are only a few of the topics addressed in Paula Vogel’s controversial play “The Long Christmas Ride Home,” which will be performed by Ohio State’s Department of Theatre Thursday in Thurber Theatre at the Drake Performance and Event Center.

 Audiences will watch the progression of a family after an unfortunate incident occurs during a trip to church and the grandparents’ house during the Christmas season. The story begins with narration by the mother and father and continues on to character monologues of the three young children after they become adults. The ill-fated situation alters the future of the family and seems likely to mess up the lives of the children.

Wait for it..

..The audience can expect a very adult-themed experience. Some aspects of the play may be considered taboo. Portrayed through shadows, the son has unprotected sex with a male shadow puppet who has AIDS. One daughter catches her girlfriend cheating on her and contemplates suicide. Another woman becomes pregnant by a man other than her boyfriend. The human actors interact with shadow puppets to make these scenes happen. 

Actually, there may be a redeeming aspect of this story  (Work with me here, people).  The puppets themselves look like a cross between ugly and amateurish, but this quote from The Lantern puts me in a good mood:

Vogel is an American playwright who includes bunraku, an ancient Japanese form of puppetry, in “The Long Christmas Ride Home.” 

They’re actually comparing Bunraku to the puppets used in the play, which is kind of a gas when you think about it.  This is equivalent to comparing Ed Wood to William Shakespeare as far as I am concerned. 

So, I’m thinking, perhaps this is what the play is really about.  Using ugly puppets and pretending that they’re artistic, like kashira;  just like Postmodern society has used ugly “sex” and pretended that it’s beautiful and (according to apostate clerics) a gift from the Lord.  And, the characters in the play find themselves in ugly situations, when they opt out of God’s design for sexuality. 

Maybe that’s what the playwright wants her audience to take home with them.  I would be interested in knowing if the characters in this play really trash their lives, and blame it on their own depravity. 

Now, that would be a play!  🙂

But if not, I’m sure plenty of TEC parishes will be lining up to host the play.  😉

– Elder

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