Can Shakespeare be any more fun, you say? Just add some puppets!

By Olesya Komarnytska


Here are some eye-catching past productions, in a variety of media, which brought the Bard’s vision alive with the help of some talented craftsmanship.

The Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington, DC recently mounted this gorgeous Ethan McSweeny production of The Tempest as part of its 2015/16 season. On the surreal set of white sand and wreckage that is Prospero’s island, the actors share the stage with colossal puppets designed by James Ortiz.







The stop motion master Jiří Trnka’s last feature film was the 1959 Sen noci svatojánské (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). In this film, he created expressive stop motion characters within highly detailed landscapes and scenarios that were further brought to life through the classical compositions of Vaclav Trojan. The film was punctuated by some quite comedic moments that couldn’t have been achieved through anything other than stop motion.

Sen noci svatojánské was recently shown as part of TIFF’s Magic Motion: The Art of Stop Motion Animation retrospective.




And of course, this short review wouldn’t be complete without a tip of the hat to The Muppets. I feel the Swedish Chef exhibits a wonderful mastery of the iambic pentameter!







Tangled Web Theatre Presents “Handle With Care” @ FringeKids!

Written by Bonnie Thomson, featuring Helen Juvonen, Tyler Seguin, and Bonnie Thomson

Written by Bonnie Thomson,
featuring Helen Juvonen, Tyler Seguin,
and Bonnie Thomson


On a warm summer day three friends discover a mysterious box in the forest.

“I have an idea,” says Tyler.

“Uh oh,” says Helen.

“Oh no!” says Bonnie.

“Let’s open it!” says Tyler.

“It might be dangerous.”

“We could get in trouble.”

Tyler opens it anyway.



Bonnie Thomson – Production Manager for Shakespeare in Action in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons – has a new venture.  She, Helen Juvonen, and Tyler Seguin, have formed Tangled Web Theatre, making its FringeKids debut with Handle With Care.

Handle With Care explores environmental themes through humour, play, and various styles of puppetry. The five vignettes make use of tabletop, rod, and shadow puppets; as well as object manipulation, recycled materials, and found items.  The story encourages positive ways of interacting with the environment and features a charming forest Troll (critical for any kids’ show).  It’s perfect for families and the summer holidays.



Wednesday, July 10 – 6pm
Thursday, July 11 – 3:45pm
Saturday, July 13 – 1pm
Sunday, July 14 – 6:45pm

Palmerston Library Theatre, 560 Palmerston Avenue
$5 for children 12 and under. For tickets, click here.

Tangled Web Theatre website – click here.
Tangled Web Theatre Facebook – click here.
To read a Mooney on Theatre review, click here.

Day of Delight @ Dufferin Grove Park – Sunday, June 16th!

- Clay & Paper Theatre's 11th Annual Day of Delight! -  Image: Barbara Klunder

– Clay & Paper Theatre –
Image: Barbara Klunder


We’re huge fans of puppetry and creative storytelling here at Shakespeare in Action!

This Sunday, June 16th, Clay & Paper Theatre presents its 11th annual Day of Delight: A Toronto Celebration of Love, Courtship, and Desire!

The event will take place in Dufferin Grove Park, from 2-5pm and is $10/Pay What You Can.  Founding Artistic Director, David Anderson, was kind enough to give a little more insight into the Day of Delight:


SIA:  What inspired you?  What is the Day of Delight story?

David:  I wanted to do a seasonal festival that played with the idea of rebirth and fecundity.  We also have a festival in the fall called Night of Dread.  Once we had Night of Dread – which looks and endings and death and our morality and which asks us to build images of our fears, to parade them, mock them, and laugh at them as a community – it was natural for me to think about its mirror festival in the spring.  And so, Day of Delight – a fanciful celebration of Spring, love, courtship, and desire in, with, and for Toronto – was born.

SIA:  there are some enormous puppets in this celebration! What are some materials and method that you and your team used to build them?

David:  We typically build our puppets by sculpting them in clay, then using paper mache on top of the clay sculpture.  We also sometimes build puppets out of cardboard.

SIA:  The theme is “Celebrating Mother Earth.”  Without giving anything away, what can attendees expect to experience?

David:  This year’s theme is celebrating Mother Earth herself, how Toronto rests in her bosom, and how lovers love her in our beautiful city.  Attendees can expect to be delighted by art installations and theatre, dance and musical performances, happening all around the park by 12 spectacular Toronto companies and solo artists.  Creative offerings will range from a singing picture show (also known as a song-story, or “flippy,” or cantastoria) exploring the hidden rivers and creeks beneath our feet; to a trio of Thai dancers reminding us of the universality of love and that we are all on Earth together; to a chorus of Ukrainian folk songs celebrating the transition from spring to summer;, to an installation inviting visitors to sit back, relax, and reflect on the beauty and love surrounding them at Dufferin Grove Park.


The event will feature music, art, dance, and theatre by:

  • Ahna DiFelice and YOU!
  • Broulala
  • Coyote Collective
  • Ekakshara Dance Creations
  • Iana Komarnytska, independent dance artist
  • Kosa Kolektiv
  • Max Kelly from More of Everything
  • MTM Collective
  • sandra Henderson
  • Toronto Thai Dramatic Arts Troupe
  • Viktor Lukawski



Day of Delight
Hosted by Clay & Paper Theatre
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Dufferin Grove Park
Website – click here.
Facebook – click here.

Photo Friday – Playing with Shadow Puppets

Hamlet: "A dream itself is but a shadow." - II.ii, 1358 -

“A dream itself is but a shadow.”
– II.ii, 1358 –

Puppetmongers' Ann and David Powell have been sharing their expertise with SIA! We're working on an adaptation of Hamlet for 2013/14. Ann and David are now off for the Humber Puppetry Intensive... but stay tuned for a full interview and season announcement!

Puppetmongers’ Ann and David Powell have been sharing their expertise with SIA!  We’re working on an adaptation of Hamlet for 2013/14.

Ann and David are now off for the Humber Puppetry Intensive…

but stay tuned for a full interview and season announcement!


To learn more about Puppetmongers, click here.

To learn more about the Humber Puppetry Intensive, click here.