Amid giggles and laughter, students attending Camp Blue Sky were treated to a performance of the Stonelion Puppet Theater Thursday in the Schauffacher Theater on the campus of State Fair Community College.
Stonelion Office Manager and Puppeteer Taylor Gass, of Kansas City, delighted students from kindergarten to eighth grade with the eccentric puppet Professor Van Gogo as he told tales of stars, constellations and the solar system.
Gass said before the performance that the Kansas City Young Audiences is the booking agent for Stonelion and that the production is a “Smithsonian Institute touring performer.”
“This particular puppet show that we are seeing today, was originally developed for the Smithsonian Institute,” she said. “It is a regular visitor to the National Air and Space Museum for multiple performances.”
Gass said Stonelion has a variety of puppet shows, some with multiple puppeteers.
“Some of them require one puppeteer, some two puppeteers or three puppeteers at a puppet show,” she said. “Then some of them require 100 puppeteers, but the one today is a solo.
“‘Starry Starry Night’ has Professor Van Gogo and he tells constellation stories,” Gass added. “He talks about the stars and the solar system. It inspires the kiddos to go and discover on their own.”
She added that children learn about astronomy, space exploration and science.
During the presentation Professor Gogo arrives, with the rising sun, to the tune of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” He talks about telescopes, constellations and star types, creating laughs with his description of a star.
“I found out what stars are … they are a big ball of flaming gas and light!” he exclaims.
He is chased by a “falling star” and a “real” red giant during the 25-minute show. But he doesn’t fail to enlighten the children about the Hubbel Telescope and the stories behind the Latin names of constellations such as Cygnus.
Sheri Osborn who procures Camp Blue Sky’s artist-in-residence said she searches for artists through Kansas City Young Audiences.
“Traditionally I’ve gone through those people for the last three years to bring the artists here,” she said. “Because they seem to have the people we want and they are geared for the times.
“We try to find the most educational programs that are geared to our particular theme for the camp,” she added. “We try to do an age appropriate program.”
Osborn said Thursday’s program was going to be for kindergarten through sixth grade but they opened it up the Enrichment Class of seventh and eighth graders also.
“So we are going to have the whole camp, other than the little pre-schoolers that have already gone home,” she added.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 826-1000 ext. 1481 [email protected]