Hanna Miller through facebook had informed me that the Holly's Follies were about to start rehearsing in Pinocchio's Marionette Theater in the Altimonte Mall. I was told to stand in a back hallway of the mall and then call on my cell. Sean Keohane opened the door I was standing near which had no doorknob. I was shocked that all the walls inside were red. We entered the theater and the stage is intricately decorated with red and gold paint. There were tiny chandeliers and small benches for the children. Sean took me back to stage left where there are steps for the puppeteers to climb up 15 feet to a boardwalk. He then took me over to stage right where there was a glass window and all the unused puppets were gathered together waiting to go onstage. We had to move some boxes and Tupperware storage containers so I could sit close and start my sketch.
The sketch shows April and Hanna on the boardwalk manipulating puppets which are on stage behind all the waiting puppets. Jack the third puppeteer is probably on another boardwalk working the curtains. The rehearsal went on for about four hours. Lighting was being worked out by Richard who was sitting out in the theater with a light board on a bench in front of him. The show involves many changes of sets with curtain drops and a huge cast of puppets. Hanna informed me that they don't even have all the puppets yet and there are only a few more days of rehearsals before they start performances.
Several times the performance had to be stopped when puppets got tangled together. One of the kings got his strings tangled in his own crown. When things like this happen the puppet will be forced to move in a strange stilted way but the show must go on. While one puppeteer is working a puppet another might be called on to flick on a black light or drop a new curtain behind the set. It is a complicated process in a tight space and I don't know how they keep it all straight. For hours they bent forward at the waist manipulating the strings. I have no doubt muscles were sore by the end of the night.