The SORCERER’S APPRENTICE Highlights the Art of Puppetry

The SORCERER’S APPRENTICE Highlights the Art of Puppetry

THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE. Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Open Eye Figure Theatre.

Review: THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE at Adventure Stage Chicago

By Simone Nabicht

Presented by Adventure Stage Theater and performed by Open Eye Figure Theatre from Minnesota, THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE is a show that is based more on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s ominous 18th century poem rather than the FANTASIA vignette most are familiar with.

An orphan character is found on the street, starving and begging by Master Kratz, a cat. Master Kratz brings the young boy to the castle where his sorcerer resides. The young boy becomes an apprentice and, although he never meets the sorcerer, he learns and then invokes magical powers to get his chores done. Sequences titled “to the well,” “ to the fire,” “to the bath,” and “to sleep” represent the journey that he goes on. He, eventually loses control of the powers and disaster strikes leaving Mr. Kratz dead. In the end, he learns that responsibility and hard work is most important to learning magic.

The story is quite dark and intricate, which could make it difficult for young children comprehend. I brought my 7-year-old daughter, and thought perhaps she was a hair young. Those eight and above should have no trouble. The beginning, when the young boy had just arrived at the castle and was searching for someone, the pace was quite slow. It picks up when he finds Mr. Kratz, the show’s only source of comic relief. There is an upbeat musical number that is thrown into the middle of the show which kept the children’s attention, but as soon as it was over the show reverted to its somber form.

The story is primarily conveyed with marionettes, but shadow puppets and adults in costume were interspersed throughout. All the marionettes were beautifully constructed. The art of puppetry was on full display. With the puppeteers also lending their voices to the characters, emotions were wonderfully conveyed and understood by children and adults alike.

The show took place in a classic puppet theater but the confines of the space did not limit the intricacies of the castle set. The lighting, projections, and music added a depth to the show that older children really enjoyed.

About author

Simone Nabicht

Simone Nabicht spent 10 years directing, choreographing and instructing children and young adults in theater. Simone believes that behind every curtain is a new world to explore, and she often does so with her 3-year-old son, 6-year-old daughter, and child-at-heart husband.