The Puppet Play
Sage Green ’21 is the embodiment of an interdisciplinary Beloiter: she is a triple-major in Theater Performance, Education, and Creative Writing, and a Russian minor. An alum of Beloit Memorial High School, she has maintained connections with the school’s theater department throughout her time at Beloit. In her junior year, Sage assistant-directed two productions at BMHS: “Sense and Sensibility” and “The Addams Family” under director Greg Wallendal, a Beloit alum. She is currently directing and producing “The Puppet Play,” a devised theater project she wrote and brought to life in collaboration with high school students.
The inspiration for this project came from Sage’s desire to rediscover interests from her childhood and to be more unapologetically weird in the art she creates. “You can be proud of any art you make,” Sage said. “There’s no point in being ashamed of it.”
“The Puppet Play” is a show about a human family and their puppet neighbors. Sage took inspiration from the early days of Sesame Street: the show is educational and community-focused as well as entertaining. The cast meets on Zoom to write and rehearse, and began filming their first episode in late October. The show will be shared online, starting with an episode slated for release around Thanksgiving.
Because “The Puppet Play” is a devised production, it has evolved a great deal since Sage initially pitched her idea. The actors she works with have created their own characters, and the writing is a collaborative process. “Every day we discover new things about our characters together,” Sage said.
Working with students at BMHS has given Sage the opportunity to fuse her interests in writing, theater and education. She says that this project has been a great space for her students to be creative, vulnerable, and have real input: “young people aren’t often given a space where they can just talk about what they want to talk about, and they don’t always have freedom to make creative decisions,” she noted. “When you create a sense of vulnerability and trust within a group of people, you have space to grow as an actor and as a person.”
As with all collaborative work, “The Puppet Play” is a learning space for Sage as well as her students. “They make me want to push myself to be vulnerable and uncomfortable and more myself,” she said. “I want everyone to learn from young people and to just try things.”