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Puppets Take The Stage At D.C. Theater Festival

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A group of works from the Handspring Puppet Company.
Lauren Landau/WAMU
A group of works from the Handspring Puppet Company.
The installation Raw to Real: Carving Theater gives viewers a glimpse into the creative process behind Handspring Puppet Company's work.

A theater festival is in town, but human actors aren't the only ones gracing the stage.

If you walk through The Kennedy Center's Hall of Nations, you'll see an installation of sketches and puppets made by South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company, which famously crafted life-sized equine puppets for the Tony Award-winning play War Horse.

Tom Morris was one of the original directors of the play and is teaming up with the puppet company once again to put on A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Handspring's Artistic Director Adrian Kohler says the goal is to give objects life and to make magic tangible and real for contemporary audiences.

"Sometimes the fairies are planks of wood that spring out of the floorboards and become the magic in the show," Kohler says. "There is a character that is made up of tools from a tool bench that all join up and become Puck.

The World Stages International Theater Festival runs through March 30 and features plays, readings and installations from 19 different countries. A Midsummer Night's Dream will be on stage this Thursday through Sunday.

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