‘Pinocchio on stage at South Side Upper

Published 12:33 am Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Mississippi Puppetry Guild presented “Pinocchio” to a very respectful and attentive audience of elementary students at South Side Upper Elementary School on Thursday.

Quiet as mice, the students took in the pageantry and spectacle of the timeless tale about a puppet, as told through puppets.

The Puppet Arts Theatre adaptation of the Carlo Collodi story remains relevant to today’s youth. Full of valuable moral lessons, the story follows a wooden boy, created in a carpenter’s workshop as he embarks on a mental and physical journey of learning how to become a “real boy”. Pinocchio goes from “wooden headed fool” to a flesh and blood son by working hard, studying hard, and respecting his father, Geppetto.

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The professional troupe of actors traveled to Picayune under the direction of award-winning puppetry producer Peter Zapletal. Clever use of slides, projectors, and sliding set pieces aided the puppets and actors in telling the story.

After the performance, students were allowed to ask questions, proving they were listening and learning. While the actors explained the “tricks” through the use of one and two-dimensional puppets, the students were already contemplating their next questions.

The school was able to host the show after receiving a special grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission. The $1,000 grant awarded to the school was part of one million dollars in grants made possible by continued funding from the Mississippi State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.