Snow White and Her Prince Train with Puppets at The Puppet Co. by Erin Gifford

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The Puppet Co. is a repertory family theater, and it produces a new show about every two years. In 2011, it premiered Snow White and the 7 Dwarves and will reopen the newest production in repertory on July 21, 2012, for only the second time.

Molly MacKenzie and Mason O’Sullivan training with the dwarves in the Puppet Co.’s production of “Snow White and the 7 Dwarves.” Photo by Erin Gifford.

Two actors that are new to the Puppet Co will join Allan Stevens, CEO and director, and Christopher Piper, artistic director, as performers for the production. Molly MacKenzie and Mason O’Sullivan, recent graduates of George Mason University, will act the roles of Snow White and Prince Stefan, respectively, as well as perform several dwarf puppets.

Both actors previously taught classes at Acting for Young People and are excited to work with children again.

“Their laughter is really rewarding. It’s contagious. They are also brutally honest,” O’Sullivan said.

Neither actor has worked with puppets before. They are excited to be trained by Stevens and Piper, describing it as being paid to take a class to acquire a fun, new skill.

“You have to think a lot more about your body,” MacKenzie said.

“Yeah, it takes a lot more practice. You can go off of other actors, but it’s not the same with puppets,” O’Sullivan said.

Molly MacKenzie and Christopher Piper in rehearsal for the Puppet Co.’s production of “Snow White and the 7 Dwarves.” Photo by Erin Gifford.

Both agreed that working with puppets was the most exciting thing about being a part of this production. O’Sullivan said it would definitely help him if he ever wanted to audition for Avenue Q.

O’Sullivan and MacKenzie are pretty excited about the costumes, too.

“I get to where poufy pants.  Enough said,” O’Sullivan said.

“The cape and gloves [for the Queen] are my favorite. I LOVE gloves,” MacKenzie said.  It’s interested to note what gets actors excited  Poufy pants? Long, red gloves? Yes, please.

Along with the production’s valuable lesson that teamwork is important and that there is often more to someone than what meets the eye, O’Sullivan found another lesson for the kids.

“It’s OK to have an imagination,” he said. He describes talking to the puppet like it’s a human and literally imagining the puppet to be real. (Little does he know that this is the easiest part for the kids.)

When asked why families should come see this production, the two actors knew exactly why – “because we’re amazing!” they said with a laugh.

“Why do people go to the movies?” O’Sullivan asked. “To escape to another world.”

Mason O’Sullivan rehearsing with the puppets for the Puppet Co.’s production of “Snow White and the 7 Dwarves.” Photo by Erin Gifford.

Snow White and the 7 Dwarves was a huge collaboration between the multi-talented staff, with some assistance from friends and fellow puppeteers. Piper wrote the script, designed and crafted the puppets, and performs as a puppeteer and live actor in the production.  Stevens designed the set and costumes, directed the show and performs as a puppeteer. General Manager MayField Piper made the costumes (for the actors and the puppets!) and also assisted in making the puppets.  Previous employee Eric Brooks designed the music, made the set and helped make the puppets.  He performed last year but will not be joining the production again this year (be sure to catch him in Olney Theatre’s Little Shop of Horrors!).

Snow White and the 7 Dwarves runs July 21st through September 2nd and is recommended for ages 5 and up. Tickets are only $10, with group rates available.

The Puppet Co. looks forward to seeing you for Snow White and the 7 Dwarves!