Since 2007 Gaston Morineau has been delighting audiences at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre. His shows The Rabbit and the Moon, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs demonstrate his comedic style as a puppeteer, and his knack for getting the audience of children involved. According to Gaston, "Kids are always very receptive towards puppets. All my shows are live with no pre-recorded dialogue, which allows a lot of back and forth between the puppets and the audience. When children consume entertainment it's usually one-way from either watching TV or being on the internet, so when they get a chance to "help" in a show like telling Little Golden Hood where the wolf is hiding they are experiencing something different that they get to be a part of."
Growing up Gaston dreamed of becoming an animator. "I have always been a big fan of cartoons. When Iwas already an adult working in classrooms I realized that performing with puppets was like creating a"live" cartoon. You could create any character you might want or any world you might desire. There was no limit on what story you could tell, but unlike cartoons you could this in front of an audience getting that instant feedback."
What does Gaston like best about puppetry? "The ability to create any world or character you desire and create any story." In fact puppetry is a great storytelling tool. "Like any other art form it can be used to teach a variety of lessons and stories. This is done very well on television by Sesame Street and variety of shown on PBS or other children television networks."
The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre's first performance was in 1947 when Marie Hitchcock and her sister Genevieve Engman performed a marionette show. The theatre is still going strong in 2018 with a roster of puppeteers, and even a membership to the theatre that includes a back stage tour. Thousands of children have enjoyed this San Diego treasure including my own son who was so anxious to see the puppet show he would peak through the crack of the front door before the theatre opened. Puppetry is a great way for children to be creative, and practice their communication skills.
Bring the Magic of Puppetry Home
MAGICFOREST Moulin Roty Puppet Theatre Retail $150
Folkmanis Raccoon Ages 3+ Retail $43.99 www.folkmanis.com
Folkmanis Snowy Owl Ages 3+ Retail $33.99 www.folkmanis.com
Folkmanis Grunting Pig Ages #+ Retail $32.99 www.folkmanis.com