Topfer Theatre at Zach
"...People are serious. True, we've lost one of the two companies devoted exclusively to puppetry (see "Geppetto Dreams Puppet Company"), but Trouble Puppet Theater Company looks to be picking up the slack, getting funding from the Jim Henson Foundation, attending the O'Neill National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, and now launching this resident artist program, with which Trouble Puppet will bring to Austin puppet artists from around the world, giving them workspace, technical support, and performers so they can experiment with puppet design and workshop new pieces...."
"...(His first name's Victor.) Also contrary to what one might assume, Mary Shelley's book about the man who made the monster is not so good. At least according to Connor Hopkins, who reread it and adapted it for Trouble Puppet Theater Company's production, opening this week at the City Theatre..."
"...Artistically, the production uses tabletop puppets, which have been Trouble Puppet's bread and butter, and it also makes heavy use of shadow puppetry. Over the course of the company's life thus far, Artistic Director Connor Hopkins has set a trend of challenging himself and the company with more and more complex ideas..."
"...Trouble Puppet Theater Company has your answer, and it's partly funded by a grant from the Jim Henson Foundation...."
"...So it goes in Atlantis: A Puppet Opera, the latest musical creation from Ethos, the company that realizes Chad Salvata's cybernetic operas, performance installations, and mythic musicals. In this one, the title is, of course, a total giveaway regarding the doom that awaits the nation in question – who isn't aware of the great island of ancient times that sank beneath the waves? – but Salvata, who provides the music and libretto here, adds to our sense of foreboding with the Atlanteans' repeated references to their select status with the sun god and their invincibility..."
"...So they started meeting and hammering out what they wanted their community to be and how they would utilize funding. Katie Pearl of Physical Plant Theater and Vortex Repertory Company Artistic Director Bonnie Cullum took on leadership roles in the process, and Greater Austin Creative Alliance Executive Director Latifah Taormina arranged for the alliance to serve as the community's fiscal sponsor..."
"...As a "student over traditional age," I was more interested in the history of philosophy, but found it fascinating to see the minds of my younger classmates expand as they were challenged with thoughts they'd never dared to have before – though on my end, most of the conventions discussed had already been fully explored years ago among buddies with a black light and a bong. With Trouble Puppet Theater Company's Wars of Heaven: Smackdown!, the challenge of repackaging these ideas for a fresh take is well met, though the production elevates itself a bit past its core message...."
"...For Trouble Puppet's current show The Head, the company attracted visiting artists Stella James and Pete Talbot to help Hopkins and assistant builder Marc Smith construct the creatures. Talbot says he and James were attracted by the humanness of Trouble Puppet's creations from other shows: "Before we were even part of Trouble Puppet, Stella and I were watching that [online] trailer for The Jungle, and we teared up watching that: 'Oh no, he just died!'"..."
"...At least that's the strategy that Connor Hopkins and Trouble Puppet Theater Company are pursuing. Their adaptation of the Upton Sinclair novel The Jungle, opening Sept..."
"...Everyone with any experience with the condition has their own metaphor for depression: the "noonday demon," the "black cloud," the "dark cave." For Connor Hopkins, the Trouble Puppet Theater Company artistic director who wrote, designed, and directed The Head, the metaphor – perhaps unsurprisingly – involves puppets...."
"...My arm aches as I spend the day crouched. Shout-out to Trouble Puppet Theater Company and every actual puppeteer who is better than me in every way..."
"...So it was at the 42nd edition of the B. Iden Payne Theatre Awards on Monday, where the Vortex Repertory Company production of Terminus received a total of 11 awards...."
"...Now, the Trouble Puppet Theatre Company artistic director has turned his unorthodox methods of adaptation on another man of science whose venture to unlock a secret of human existence unleashed something horrific: that very Dr. Jekyll..."
"...Puppetry Moby Dick, Trouble Puppet Theater Company..."
"...The musical was one of 77 productions of theatre and improv recognized by the nonprofit group's committee of volunteers who see and evaluate shows throughout the year. Five other stage works were honored with nine nominations each: the musicals Atlantis: A Puppet Opera (ethos and Vortex Repertory Company) and Monty Python's Spamalot (Summer Stock Austin); the Theatre for Youth production El Paraíso de los Maniquís (Proyecto Teatro); the comedy Agent Andromeda: The Orion Crusade (Sky Candy); and the theatrical event Requiem for Tesla (Rude Mechanicals)..."
"...• Trouble Puppet Theater Company scored big with its recent production of The Jungle, which appeared in the Top 9 lists of three Chronicle Arts writers. It also earned the company a Jim Henson Foundation Project Grant to assist in a more fully realized remount in 2011..."
"...Toil and Trouble, Trouble Puppet Theater Company's adaptation of Macbeth, seems almost inevitable. The company's bread and butter has been reinterpreting classic texts – from the gritty muckraking of Upton Sinclair to the fantasies of Mary Shelley – and revealing a new depth to the works that can be found only when you see all of the characters as puppets..."
"...Parade from Seventh and Congress to Cesar Chavez, west to City Hall, then across the First Street Bridge to Auditorium Shores with Grand Marshals the Biscuit Brothers in the giant H-E-B shopping cart. Also marching by will be Big Chief Kevin; the Texas Rollergirls; the Austin Walkin' Band; the Austin Public Library Bibliophiles, Austin's book-cart drill team; 150 life-sized puppets from Totally Cool, Totally Art; even bigger puppets from Metamorphosis Arte and Vortex Repertory Company; hula-hoop marchers with HOOPCiRCLE; a giant snake and praying mantis from Austin Bike Zoo; the Texas Juggling Society; stilt-walkers from Cubensi; the Capitol City Highlanders Pipe Band; Drishti Dancers; Rah Amen drummers; art carts created by students from the Austin Independent School District; and much more. EVENING PROGRAM: Ongoing all evening..."
"...Until then, puppetry for adults had been mostly absent from modern stages. Four years later, when Connor Hopkins founded Trouble Puppet Theater Company in Austin, plenty of adults still needed convincing that this was not an art form strictly for tots...."
"...As it was my first encounter with professional puppet theatre, I hadn't expected to be so transported. But the pathos and message of Upton Sinclair's novel were adapted with such astonishing creativity and craftsmanship by Artistic Director Connor Hopkins and company that I left the theatre with an entirely new appreciation for the poetic power of puppetry...."