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Rapunzel

September 30, 2014
Kathleen Molloy
7300 MacArthur Boulevard
Glen Echo, MD 20812
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I vaguely remember the story of Rapunzel.  So vaguely that when they mentioned that Rapunzel is not only a pretty maiden with long locks, but is also a radish, I wasn't sure what to expect.  Luckily some modern quips like repairing a wall with some supplies from Home Depot, started to put things into perspective.

If you don’t remember the story, an elderly man makes three visits to the witch’s garden to steal the witch’s prized Rapunzel plants.  The modern twist is that the wife says she’ll starve without her Rapunzel.  After the third trip “over the boulder” the witch casts a spell striking a dreadful deal with the old man.  The couple’s first born child will Rapunzel at the Puppet Co.become property of the witch.  And so the deal is made, and don’t worry, children won’t really comprehend this part of the show.  As time passes, the witch sees Rapunzel’s beauty and decides to keep her from potential suitors by locking her in a tall tower.  The floppy haired Rapunzel lets the witch up and down her golden braids, but always seems to drop her too soon to the ground.  That’s what you get for keeping a young girl from seeing the world!  

The kissing scene is especially funny because the children erupt in laughter and “ewww.”  The tale is very similar to the original Rapunzel, but the short show was a hit with audience members.  I especially adored the dialogue between the narrator and the witch who didn’t realize that after Rapunzel chopped her locks, the witch herself remained trapped in the cold tower forever.

All hail Christopher Piper!  The master puppeteer himself takes on six personalities in this one man show.  To be able to change puppets, voices, and scenery requires great attention to detail.  Piper’s calm and collected ability in doing so was flawless.  

While photography is not permitted during the performance, you can be the paparazzi after the show for a meet and greet with Piper and the puppets.

Rapunzel runs 40 minutes in length and is recommended for ages 4 to 9.  It is not unusual to find children fidgeting or moving about during the show.  Brief moments of lightning sounds along with the lights flashing during the performance may affect some audience members.    

Tickets have not gone up in price in the past ten years making the $10 per person price tag very reasonable for the DC metro area.  Tickets can be purchased in advance online (no service fee) or at the box office.   Performances are held Fridays at 10 and 11:30 am, Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 am and 1 pm.     

We like to top off our trip by grabbing a snack at the Glen Echo Café and then the playground.  While the carousel is closed for the season, we read a sign for glassblowing demonstrations.  You may also want to visit the Living Classrooms museum or take a free tour of the nearby Clara Barton House.

Rapunzel is the only hand puppet show on stage at the Puppet Co. Theatre.  My 7 year old enjoyed it so much that we had to watch the movie Tangled.  “Let down your golden hair”  before the show culminates on October 12, 2014.

Up next is The Three Billy Goats Gruff from October 16 to November 21, 2014.  The always sold out Nutcracker begins November 28, 2014.

Photo by Kathleen Molloy.

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