Puppets, pastries and plenty of friends

The Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre Company holds its annual Dessert Theatre: Puppets and Pastries


The Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre Company was at it again last weekend, performing their annual event for adults and teens, Dessert Theatre: Puppets and Pastries.

Even with all the other events happening in West Liberty, Eulenspiegel’s friends and fans came out to enjoy a night of music, desserts and, of course, puppetry.

The annual event is one of the few for which the puppeteers charge admission. Their philosophy is that many community members are richer in children than they are in dollars, so all of the public shows are free.

Donations are always welcome, but not necessary for attendance. However, the Dessert Theatre is special. It’s a fundraiser aimed at those old enough to work.

Eulenspiegel’s Outreach Director, Christopher Eck, began the night by letting the audience know what their tickets paid for. 

“For the past 27 years, we’ve set aside a weekend in February to get together and goof around,” Eck began. The funds earned at Dessert Theatre will support several projects, including the New Puppeteers Festival on May 4. This event is free, and all are welcome to join.

“This is a program where amateur puppeteers get guidance from Eulenspiegel artists,” Eck said, “and write and produce their own puppet shows that they perform at an all-day festival on that Saturday in May.”

The ticket sales also support Summer Puppet Camp for kids ages 7-12, which is held every summer during the week after the fair. In the past, Eulenspiegel has partnered with the Dreamcatchers for the Summer Puppet Camp. 

“We set some funding aside every year to provide tuition assistance for this,” Eck said. “The tuition is pretty reasonable for a week-long camp...but we want to make sure it’s accessible to everyone.”

“Thank you, because your ticket price is a big part of what allows us to complete our mission in these ways,” Eck said.    

The house lights dimmed and the only light remaining, apart from the spotlights, was the scattered glow of candles all around the room.

Monica Leo was the first to step into the spotlight and offered her audience a puppet show in four parts, “Play to Play (or Hold Your Puppet Up!)”.

If you have ever worked with Monica to put on a show, you have heard her say “hold your puppet up!” more than once. “Play to Play” tells the story of the Eulenspiegel Puppets, from their beginning in 1974 to this day. 

In addition to the four parts of “Play to Play,” there were also musical acts and poetry. Outreach Director Christopher Eck shared his skills as an expert guitarist while puppeteer Stephanie Vallez did her best to sing along.

The audience got a big treat when songbird Laura Kittrell picked up her guitar and sat down to share a few original songs that she had written at various times in her life. Kittrell also provided piano music during the dessert intermission.

Poetry is usually part of Dessert Theatre, and Tony Ledtje shared a few of his poems with everyone.

Ledtje is a well-known pottery expert from the area and has taught many classes on the subject. Last weekend the world got to experience another of his skills as he shared his beautiful poems.   

And it wouldn’t be Dessert Theatre: Puppets and Pastries without a few more puppets and, of course, pastries.

Puppeteer Pam Corcoran came all the way from central Wisconsin to share her piece “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” a sort of paper puppet love story. Pam’s beautiful artwork and easy humor were a delight for the crowd.

As for the pastries, all of the desserts were locally procured or donated. Acapulco Mexican Bakery provided flan and pastel de trés leches, Linley Heath made mint chocolate brownies and Stephanie Vallez made baklava. Sparkling wine and juice were available. 

The puppet crew intend to continue celebrating their 50th anniversary all year long, with free puppet shows and happy hours to enjoy.

The next free show will be during spring break on Wednesday, March 13, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

There will also be a happy hour on March 21 from 4:30-6 p.m. featuring vintage Eulenspiegel films. And don’t forget to attend the New Puppeteers Festival on May 4 to see what’s up-and-coming for the art of puppetry.