File puptcrit/puptcrit.0602, message 183

Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2006 14:36:48 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [Puptcrit] Macri-Weil Puppets

Hi all,
I was living in Connecticut when Sal Macri brought his
share of the family puppets to Branford CT,
specifically to "the world's smallest summer stock
theatre" in Stony Creek aka the gateway to the Thimble
Islands, which was a nest of pirates (wreckers
actually) about the time of the American
revolution--but I digress.  Some of Sal's figures,
both new and old are as big as he is and are very
heavy, which is largely why he had to "retire" and get
his shoulders repaired. One interesting technical
detail is that many of the heads are permanently
mounted on their steel rods with a large hook
protruding from the neck, in which the body hangs. 
The bodies have a big eye  as their neck.  The weight
of the puppets is such that a careful twist allows the
head to turn without moving the body (much). During
big battles, as Orlando typically dispatches a number
of foes, a vigorous jerk and twist allows the body to
drop to the floor and the head to bounce to one side
of the stage. Since the other rod on the sword arm
also ends in a hook, it can be detached and even catch
the neck eye to drag the body out of the way. If
there's a string on the shield arm it's just dropped.
The last performance I saw when I was able to get the
Cambridge Arts Council and the Dante Alighieri Society
to host the troupe (which was Sal and some guys from
his construction company) was his signature "Orientale
de Stella,"  the Sicilian equivalent of Orlando,
fending off a Turkish invasion with the help of Mt.
Aetna. The final has lava boulders raining down on the
stage.  The originals were papier mache, but Sal had
carved a new set out of grey sponge foam.  These
bounced much more effectively and didn't crumble; a
few made it into the front row of course. It's too bad
there's no one with the time to keep his shows going. 
I believe however that someone at Yale has recorded
hus vocal performances (in Sicilian) though I must
note that at least two Sicilian artists with whom I
saw the first Macri-Weil performances didn't know a
lot of the antique vocabulary he'd memorized as a boy.

For reviews by Will Stackman,  go to ON THE AISLE  at

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