Mathilda and Doggie can’t wait to go to their friend’s party and play in the bouncy house. Then Mathilda can’t wait in line — and cuts in front of Doggie. She is surprised to learn that everyone wants their turn, even grown-ups. Performed with needle-felted puppets, and a gentle pace that suits young children. 30 minutes, best for ages 3 to 6
Only Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s magic can convince the grimy Mathilda to take a bath. This story is a light-hearted adaptation of a Betty Macdonald story told with needle-felted pig puppets. Best for ages three to seven, 25 minutes
Cow and Mouse, who are good friends, go on a picnic together. Cow can’t stand to share his cookies. The Thank-You fairy transforms him into a fish so that he can try being an animal that doesn’t have to share. This show is performed with original hand puppets, and is best for ages three to six. 25 minutes
Mr. Badger is thrilled to meet Blossom, a flower fairy, in the garden. He flies away with her to help the fairies build a playground. But then it’s complicated: the fairies won’t use cement; and Mr. Badger wants to learn to fly. This gentle tale is based on European fairy lore.“Badger Meets the Fairies” is best for ages 4 to 10, and lasts 40 minutes.
Puppets, sets and music work together in the show to evoke a woodland garden. Fairy puppets and sets for their garden were built by visual artist Sandra Pastrana and Margaret Moody. Alison Plante of Berklee School of Music composed original music for the piece based on Celtic melodies. If you see Margaret perform as a solo artist, you will hear Alison’s melodies.
Recently, Arlington artists Peter Lehman and Ann Wynne have accompanied “Badger Meets the Fairies” on mandolin and percussion. Peter, founder of the musical groups C#minor7 and Foggy Mountain Consort, plays a lively variety of New England fiddle tunes for the fairies and Mr. Badger. Here’s a clip of “Badger Meets the Fairies” accompanied by Ann and Peter at Old Schwamb Mill in Arlington:
The Chinese Monkey King soars into the heavens and delights in his new job in the Heavenly Peach Garden. But when he discovers he has been left out of the Jade Emperor’s Peach Blossom Banquet, Monkey flies off to make mischief in the Heavens. This lively episode of the Chinese epic Journey to the West features traditional (掌中戲）hand puppets and choreography which I studied with the I Wan Jan Traditional Hand Puppet Troupe in Taiwan (亦宛然掌中劇團）. The show is best for ages five and up.
More about Bu Dai Xi puppetry and Monkey King:
The trolls want to take good care of the fairies’ garden, but they also want a LOT of stuff. When there’s not enough space for their breakfast nook, what should they keep — their deluxe toaster or the fairies’ cherished tree?
Nature-based educator Ann Wynne, stringed instrument virtuoso Peter Lehman and I have enjoyed building this interactive show together, rehearsal by rehearsal. Children are invited to talk to the trolls, fairies and animals that live in the garden, and they’ve given the trolls good advice about what’s most important in a garden.
“The Trolls and the Tree” opened in June 2022 and has been performed in libraries, preschools and outdoor centers in Arlington, Fall River and Lexington.
THANKS TO OUR FUNDERS AND SPONSORS! The Trolls and the Tree has been produced with the generous support of the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Our show in Fall River has been generously supported by a grant from the Fall River Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.