In the modern world, where news of politics and financial crises flood lives of many people, society has started forgetting the joyful components of life, such as spending time watching a good comedy show or attending a theater, instead of getting bogged down by the burdens of everyday routine.
One option for something different is the Puppetzilla Puppet Slam, a comedy show which brings first-time puppeteers as well as professionals together on one stage to perform in a friendly atmosphere. The latest show was held on Sunday, March 5 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.
Upon entering the theater, every person is immersed in a friendly atmosphere of creativity and art, supplemented with an imaginative interior and a small bar with food and drinks. The feeling of being part of a large family, where everyone is appreciated just for coming, lasts even after the show is over. The performance started with a short speech and a couple of announcements from a past president of Los Angeles Guild of Puppetry Christine Papalexis. After she was done, Dan Wiley, the host, welcomed everybody and introduced the first performer.
“I loved the show. We tried some new technology and the acts were all great, the audience was packed. I loved the show,” Wiley said. “It’s pretty unusual. You’re not going to see acts like that any place else in Los Angeles.”
Each performer tried to show something different and impress the audience with a variety of techniques. Some were poking fun at people’s behaviors in certain circumstances and some were joking about themselves. For instance, Alissa Hunnicutt showed an amusing story about how a lot of girls are acting when they have their first kiss with the guy they like, while Karl Herlinger was making fun of his diffidence.
Each comedian had a story to share with the public and their own unique way of doing it, but there was one person who was very different from everybody else. Ithamar Enriquez stole everybody’s attention by making a performance using nothing but his hands accompanied by music.
There is a stereotype about puppetry shows that a puppet is supposed to be on stage with the performer, however, The Puppetzilla Puppet Slam broke conventions and gave people a chance to look at this form of art from a different perspective.
“It was fun to see what everyone’s sort of definition of puppetry is. We saw all types of puppetry,” Enriquez said. “What’s challenging and fun about my piece is that picking out the iconic movie scenes and music that one can get away with performing with just your hands.”
Along with the live show, three short comedy films were screened at the theater, which were a nice break between the comedians’ performances. Despite all the minor technical difficulties, the audience seemed to appreciate every performer on the stage.
“We all are kind of freaked out a little bit as everything is happening and then once the show is over we all high five and we all are like ‘great, we did it’, so I think that’s the part of the excitement of it and it’s really great to be a part of it,” assistant producer Adrian Rose Leonard said.
Though the whole night was filled with humor there was one announcement which saddened and disappointed the audience. The Steve Allen Theater is closing this summer and is going to be turned into condos. The place that has become a sort of home for many of the comedians and other representatives of art will soon disappear, along with its rich history.
“It is really sad because there is a lot of history to this place. There are so many shows that have happened in this theater that are a tradition, you know, so now we all have to find a new home and it’s really sad,” Leonard said.
The Puppetzilla Puppet Slam will have one more event before the Steve Allen Theater closes. Everybody who wants to attend the show can purchase tickets in the theater before the performance or buy them online in advance for a lower price. In addition, everyone has a chance to become part of the Puppetzilla family by attending their workshops and becoming a member of the Los Angeles Guild of Puppetry.