Puppet Up at The Kirk Douglas Theatre – Recap

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I was very fortunate to be involved in three Puppet Up! Uncensored shows at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, CA this past Thursday through Saturday.  While I did write individual blogs on each of these nights, I’ve decided not to publish them.  Instead I’m just going to do this post that will wrap up the experience.  The reason I’m not publishing them is just because these were local shows, we were trying out new things and there were some things in the individual blogs that I just didn’t feel like putting out there.  You’ll get a nice overview here, if you continue to read on.

Our three shows were at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.  It’s a beautiful space with a great stage.  Unlike other stages we’ve performed in, this one was on the ground floor and the seats were raked at a step angle.  The thing I liked about this was that the audience was right there, at the lip of the stage.  Sometimes I feel a big space between the stage and the audience, say for an orchestra pit, will cause a dip in the audience enjoyment.  This is especially true with comedy.  In comedy clubs no one wants to sit up front because they thing the comedians will pick on them.  I’ve performed several places where the whole front will be empty and this will make it harder for the comedians to connect with the audience.  This was not that case at the Kirk Douglas.  And as a side note, the crew and staff at the Kirk Douglas are just amazing.  Such a pleasure to work with them all.

The fan base for puppet improv is alive and well in Southern California as the shows sold out almost immediately.  It really was spectacular how quickly the tickets went.  Each house was just filled with people who were rabid for some puppet anarchy and we gave it to them.

The puppeteer who was sick was fine the next day.  Just a weird bug.  All is well.

– Thursday, February 20, 2014 –

The Thursday show was interesting.  We had rehearsed the show with six puppeteers but just minutes before the show,one of the puppeteers became ill and was not able to go on.  Being an improv show, we improvised!  We, quickly, re-blocked the opening and then hit the stage.  It was a wild night and I got to fill in so many great spots.  Lady Singer on Face, Big Java in Java, I got to use the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio in that scene.  A lot of fun.  Moment of the night, for me, was right after performing Big Java and crossing to my chair, Brian Henson, who was also filling in here and there in spots had a big smile on his face and was laughing and he shook my hand and said, “that was great.”  Pretty amazing.

I also got to do my favorite structure, Alien Barbershop.  The topic was: umbrella.  Yes, that was it.  I went for it though.

Take an umbrella
They always warn ya
But I don’t have one,
I’m from southern California.

Not much of a hilarious joke.  It got a good laugh but I was more proud of my rhyme for California.

The cast this night was the cast that will be headed to Australia in March.  Australia, you have been warned, the puppets are coming.

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– Friday, February 21, 2014 –

The Friday night show was different in that I was slated to host this show.  The cast was a ‘mix and match’ cast of really amazing puppeteers and improvisers and it was my job to lead them all though the evening.  The show went really well.  The puppeteers were all fantastic andthere was some super funny stuff.  Everyone said I did great as the host.  I’m much harder on myself though.  Being the host of this show is really complex and it’s a tribute to Patrick that he handles it so easily.  There is so much you have to keep track of and looking back I realized that while I did a good job as the host, it wasn’t GREAT because I wasn’t having fun.  I needed to relax, not worry so much, trust everything was going to be fine and just have fun.  It’s something I look forward to as we head out on the short US tour before Australia where I will get to host four of the five shows.

– Saturday, February 22, 2014 –

This show was amazing.  From top to bottom.  The audience was amazing and our improv and puppetry was fantastic.  It was a great group of puppeteers I was honored to perform with.  Each scene was really high quality and the puppetry was amazing.  Our version of WINDY that night was one of the best I’ve seen.  Victor’s Usher bit to open act 2 is out of this world.  And the show was just really amazing.

I made my Little Java debut and it went well.  I really need to study the original because I feel there’s some beats I’m missing and I need to find out what they are in order to really hit the comedy right.

Also got to do the Alien Barbershop again and it may be my favorite of all time.  The topic was Children’s Fight Club.  My rhyme:

The children in Fight Club
Are as tough as shit.
They beat each other up
But they don’t talk about it.

It killed.

Another highlight of this show was getting to do the job interview/audience participation bit with Brian Henson.  So much fun.

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The whole show was just fantastic and I’m excited to be headed out with this cast on the mini-US tour.

So three fun shows here in Southern California.  A lot of people said they wished we were running longer, so who knows?  Maybe there will be more during the summer.

Every time I get to do this show I say it is the most fun thing I get to do.  And it is.  And I am unbelievably lucky that I get to do it.

And I can’t wait to do it again.

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2 thoughts on “Puppet Up at The Kirk Douglas Theatre – Recap”

  1. Grant, you are a gift. Funny, Generous, Kind, Lovely, Spontaneous, Supportive. And I can’t wait to be out there with you!!!!!!

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