Spring Brings Animalia to UWG

Friday, March 6, 2009

An alligator, eagle and whales… frogs, fish and butterflies…even a dolphin, blue heron and river otter … all are coming to the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts to bring spring to all of West Georgia. 

An alligator, eagle and whales… frogs, fish and butterflies…even a dolphin, blue heron and river otter … all are coming to the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts to bring spring to all of West Georgia.  Hobey Ford’s Golden Rod Puppets present their premier production, “Animalia,” with two exciting shows on Saturday, March 14, at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Winner of puppetry's highest honor, the UNIMA Citation of Excellence, and recipient of three Jim Henson Foundation grants, Ford is renowned on stages around the globe, from Calgary to Singapore, and from the Spoleto Festival to the Kennedy Center.

His performances incorporate a variety of puppetry styles including Bunraku, rod, marionettes, "Foamies" and shadow puppetry. “Animalia” is a fantastical puppetry ballet of 3D animal creatures called the “Foamies,” a type of rod puppet invented by Ford.

“Animalia” explores the beauty and movement of whales, birds and a menagerie of other creatures, including the metamorphosis of a butterfly. Incredibly realistic in every detail, the “Foamies” are carved from foam rubber.

After studying each animal's characteristic movements, Ford designs various control mechanisms to make the puppets move themselves in a lifelike manner. Drawing on his art, woodworking and basic engineering skills, the puppeteer designs and crafts all of his puppets. Ford employs complicated mechanisms and careful manipulation, while using his own voice and storytelling skills to bring his puppets to life.

Ford utilizes his artistic knowledge through his experiences at SUNY at Purchase and the University of North Carolina at Asheville to design and construct all of his Golden Rod Puppets and the beautiful sets that surround them.

The artist also draws on his early experiences growing up in coastal Connecticut and living in a Nevada Native American community in writing the scripts for some of his performances.

Since founding Golden Rod Puppets in 1980, Ford has designed, built and performed puppet productions throughout the U.S. and Canada. Today, Ford is based in the mountains of North Carolina near Asheville.

This spectacular production for all ages is sponsored by the family of Dr. Richard L. Dangle and will be performed in the intimate setting of the Dangle Theatre. Seating is limited for this rare blend of modern theatrical technology and old world artistry and early ticket purchases are recommended.

Floor seating for children is available on a first-come, first-serve basis when doors open. After the show, the audience can meet the artist and enjoy milk and cookies in the lobby.

Tickets for “Animalia” are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors and military, $5 for children and $7 for UWG students.  For ticket purchases, call the Townsend Center Box Office at 678-839-4722.

Box Office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and 11 a.m. until closing on show day.  For more information, visit http://www.townsendcenter.org/.