9.16.2008


I remember listening to an NPR tribute to Jim Henson about 5 years ago, I was by myself working in a basement candle factory at the time, and I remember crying nearly the whole morning as i went about my tasks listening to the show. I think I cried not because of the loss of a person, but because of the immensity that one person could leave behind. I admire Jim Henson and his ability to in someway change the world because he believed in the power of his own ideas. Maybe I care for his work so much because I grew up in the 80's when muppets taught me about life and humor and joy. I can't help when I see a muppet now feel a deep sense of gratitude for simplicity and inherent goodness, for imagination and absurdity.

I am in a puppetry class now. At first I got a little embarrassed when I would tell people that, but the more I think about the power a simple artistic device can render in a community, I am convinced that I would be happy for the rest of my life making and putting on puppet shows. When I start to think back, I realize that puppets have always been a part of my life vernacular, i had puppets and made puppets when I was younger, I watched Fraggle Rock and Seasame Street, I put on puppet shows with my friends. In the more recent past and maybe where my more adult love for puppetry began to take seed was in a small town on my mission in Uruguay. On the main street of the poor town there would be puppet shows performed to teach and inform the people about larger issues that they in other ways were perhaps not interested or educated enough to understand. Puppetry as a form of activism.

I completed my first puppet stage yesterday and I find myself imagining in classes where I should be paying attention, puppet shows lining the streets of Provo's downtown on Friday nights. Puppet shows in spanish, in english, addressing an array of issues or puppets reciting poetry or giving speeches, or just having fun.

7 comments:

shelly said...

Oh, my gosh, I LOVE this! Ask your dad about the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre -- please! Grandma taught us the love of puppets and they were SO much a part of our lives. They were a part of my kids' lives, and I truly hope you ALL pass it on and on and on!

Brooke Stoneman said...

Omar: I owe Ashley my life

ashmae said...

oh my gosh!!!! i forgot about omar. how is he??? i love him like a mother.

Patricia said...

ash! i went to the jim henson exhibit at the smithsonian international gallery, and i drifted around alternating between tears and smiles.

Thelma said...

Ashley, I remember when I went to the Jim Henson exhibit at the smithsonian being overwhelmed with gratitude toward him and his creativity. I to was wonderfully raised on his works and sense of humor and as I walked through the exhibit I knew "this is what the world needs more of, more than people standing on street corners with signs proclaiming evil, no we need puppets, puppets who dare to laugh and sing and even eat each other." Everyone else in the exhibit had such a look of glee on their faces, and yes yes - the world needs more puppets

shelly said...

I meant to tell you that I envisioned you making your puppet theater to the sounds of "Lonely Goatherd"!

The Gorbott said...

i just saw an exhibit at one of the smithsonian museums on jim henson. it showed his better known work ie muppets, fraggle-rock, etc, but also a number non-puppet short films he did as well as a lot of his concept sketches and ideas. it was fascinating