January 18, 2022

Children make own marionettes after puppet show in Homer

First-string production

Photos by Travis Dunn/staff reporter

The Sweet sisters Carley, 3, and Hailey, 4, enjoy a performance of “The Frog Prince” by Magic Garden Puppets Saturday morning at the Center of the Arts in Homer.

The prince, it turned out, was a real jerk (but he got to redeem himself in the end).

But since jerk is as jerk does, this still-unreformed prince managed to get an old sorceress all riled up, and so naturally she turned him into a frog.

The kids in the audience at the Homer Center for the Arts got to sing along with this last bit Saturday morning, during a marionette rendition of “The Frog Prince,” performed by Magic Garden Puppets.

Following the performance, they got to make their own marionettes. Later on, the frog managed to extract a promise from a princess for retrieving a golden ball she’d lost.

The list of the frog’s demands went like this:

At her golden table you shall dine
From her golden plate she’ll let you eat
From her golden cup you’ll share the wine
And sleep on the golden pillow at her feet.

Saturday’s event was the third in a series — and the third in a row that Tracy Marvin and Alex Balas and their daughters Madeline and Julia, both 4, have attended.

Lily Gershon, Edith MacCrea and Matt Ocone animate the marionettes of “The Frog Prince” Saturday morning at the Center of the Arts in Homer.

“We just got back in town last night, and we were really happy we could make it,” said Balas, who was as enthusiastic about the marionette- making as the kids were.

His daughter liked the previous puppets they’ve made so much that they wanted to bring them along on their recent vacation trip to Chicago.

“It really inspires the kids,” he said.

And that’s exactly what Lily Gershon, aka LilySilly, is aiming for. Each performance she and her troupe use a different type of puppet, then they host a puppetmaking session afterward.

“So we’re modeling what the puppet can do, and afterward they can make their own,” she said.

The puppets used Saturday were modifications of marionettes originally made by Kundry Woolworth, the founder of Magic Garden Puppets of Cortland, who died in 2018, said David Plaine, who has retired from the group and passed Woolworth’s legacy on to Gershon and her Freeville-based troupe.