With perfect timing during one of theater’s dullest calendar spots, Centerstage Theatre in Federal Way is bringing the Thistle Puppet Theatre from Seattle to perform “Jack in the Beanstalk” this Saturday, done in the traditional Bunraku style of puppetry.
What’s Bunraku? A popular Japanese type of puppetry, Bunraku puppets are nearly-lifesize and hand-manipulated by onstage puppeteers dressed in black – kind of puppet ninja, if you like. It’s a highly emotional kind of puppetry, the hand-connection allowing the puppeteers to truly move (and sing and dance) as one with their puppets, and the size appealing to tiny audience members. It’s a form Thistle Theatre specialize in – the only Northwest puppet company to do so.
Based on an old English version of the classic fairy tale, this version of “Jack and the Beanstalk” sees the hero trading his cow for five magic beans, ascending the beanstalk they sprout and becoming a slave to the Cyclops wife of the giant at the top, alongside a cast of characters including a golden hen, a singing harp, a green fairy and a fool.
11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Jan. 7. $10/$5. Centerstage, Knutzen Family Theater, 3200 SW Dash Point Rd., Federal Way. 253-661-1444, www.centerstagetheatre.com