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KITUS brings The Drunken Garden to Library

ABHUTCHISON, Sierra Sun

Little and big kids alike will find visual delight in the Knights of Indulgence Theatre United States’ (KITUS) next show, The Drunken Garden, a staging of selected poems by 12th century poet and mystic Rumi.

The players, Brent Lindsay, Beth Lorio, Stephen K. Patterson, Andy Thornton and Amy Pinto will demonstrate the art of puppetry on a hand-built stage with a scrim fabric screen and Chinese Bag Theater, an ancient Chinese form of puppetry.

Three small box puppet theaters will be worn by KITUS players, who, disguised by silken cloth, will operate tiny puppets in a small stage framed around their heads for the first 10 minutes of the show in their “Prelude to a Drunken Garden.” In the ancient Chinese tradition, it was known as “Bag Theater” because the cloth was bunched around the puppeteers’ ankles. The group became interested in the art form years ago when they were still living in Delaware and Amy Pinto was intrigued by a drawing of Bag Theater.

“It took a couple attempts to complete the design of our [Bag Theaters],” Lorio said. “I really hope at some point we can do a whole show using them. Amy describes them as a way to create a cinematic effect. With three screens, it’s like three different camera angles all at once.”

The group will also use a film projector for a couple of the poems.

Lorio describes Rumi’s poetry as rich but at the same time down-to-earth and simple.

“It’s spirituality for everybody,” she said. “Rumi is hot right now as a poet. I think it’s because people are looking for a spiritual approach to life that is simple.”

The challenge was coming up with a way to put Rumi’s poetry to the stage.

“Rumi’s poetry is so wonderful in as far as the pictures it provokes in your mind. The challenge was how to make the pictures in your mind real,” Lorio said.

KITUS’ scrim screened stage and use of shadow puppetry was a good, simple way to convey those types of images, Lorio said.

“The nice thing about it being poetry is that each segment of the show is only about 10 minutes, so it’s constantly changing,” she said. “Visually, it’s really exciting to watch.”

The Drunken Garden will be presented at the Truckee Library on Friday, Nov. 17 and Saturday, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $8 for adults and $3 for seniors and children under 12 and are on sale at the library. This special performance was sponsored by Truckee Friends of the Library.

KITUS was also recently honored by being given a grant from the Truckee-Tahoe Community Foundation, to assist in the purchase of lighting equipment.


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