I’ll admit, I always thought that puppet shows were mostly for kids, but maybe I was just pulling a Statler and Waldorf. This display of international puppet pageantry looks like one lively, adult-appropriate event. Produced by Teatro SEA and the MORÁN Group, the first ever International Puppet Fringe Festival NYC features theater companies from Costa Rica to Canada to France. But it particularly shines a spotlight on stories from Latin America and Latinx communities in the U.S., as seen in “Corazón de papel: A Hurricane Story,” a performance by theater group Agua, Sol y Sereno that focuses on Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria.
The five-day festival kicked off last night at the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center—a Lower East Side institution for the Puerto Rican and Latinx community that emphasizes diverse cultural programming—with a parade and “celebrity puppet” red carpet. While most performances cost $15, performances of Sueño are free (though you’ll need to grab a ticket). It’s described as a “Latino take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and features bilingual dancers, singers and puppeteers.
If art exhibits are more of your thing, swing by the Abrazo Interno Gallery & LES Gallery between August 8th-12th for exhibits like Cuba, estación de luz: Todo un país en títeres/Cuba, Season of Light: A Whole Country in Puppets. Also consider coming out on Saturday, August 11th to hear the artists themselves espouse ideas on the future of international puppetry.
To purchase tickets and check out the rest of the festival lineup, visit their website here. All performances take place at the Clemente.