REVIEWS

PUPPETRY INTERNATIONAL

by john bell

douglass patterson

Director of the Ballard Institute
and Museum of Puppetry

Professor Emeritus of Theater at the University of Nebraska.  Founding Director, Dakota Theater Caravan and

Primary contact for Augusto Boal’s tours on the Theater of the Oppressed in the United States 1992-2009

"The new revised edition of Underground Railway Theater, Engine of Delight & Social Change [is] a rare and valuable chronicle of a…theater company whose combination of actors, puppets and social content marks a formidable aspect of U.S. theater in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.  An interactive ebook…it is a powerful account of…politically charged theater work…[with] “sidebars” the reader can jump to…as well as…photos and video clips illustrating what various productions looked and sounded like... URT has not only pioneered the development of collective creation and devised theater, but…has also addressed issues of diversity…involv[ing] collaborative strategies to struggle through serious issues within the company about race, gender and cultural appropriation that, to a large extent, are only now beginning to be grappled with by the rest of the U.S. theater community.

…A solid, rooted and deeply respected cultural institution in Boston, one which now proudly defines itself as the creator of ‘accessible theater of great beauty and social content.’  There is much to learn about puppetry and theater here!"

"Let me begin by saying:  Reading through the entirety of the new online edition is almost a haunting.  This small company of performers/artists managed to cross paths with a breathtaking stream of justice issues and people that in a sense summarize the years 1975 – 2000… Given that Underground Railway Theater is in part a puppet theatre, with astonishing original 2- and 3-D puppet creations by the insufficiently-heralded David Fichter, the URT e-text offers a history with a garden of visual support that compels the eye.  Since so many histories of US companies have had only photographs, the visual record prior to mid-20th century is often only in black and white.  To see Fichter’s Lovelies and Grotesques in color and motion gives the reader/viewer a much more complete understanding of URT’s achievement…The URT bumped and curved and staggered and finally sailed a course that defines political and cultural struggle in the U.S. during the last quarter of the Twentieth Century … the company continues to do that from the millennial turn to today, comprising forty-five years of remarkable theatre-making. …Theatre historians themselves would do well to examine this account to appreciate the achievement."  

carol stern

Past President of UNIMA-USA; Former Education Consultant to

Puppeteers of America; Fulbright Program Specialist in Educational Puppetry

"Let me begin by saying:  Reading through the entirety of the new online edition is almost a haunting.  This small company of performers/artists managed to cross paths with a breathtaking stream of justice issues and people that in a sense summarize the years 1975 – 2000… Given that Underground Railway Theater is in part a puppet theatre, with astonishing original 2- and 3-D puppet creations by the insufficiently-heralded David Fichter, the URT e-text offers a history with a garden of visual support that compels the eye.  Since so many histories of US companies have had only photographs, the visual record prior to mid-20th century is often only in black and white.  To see Fichter’s Lovelies and Grotesques in color and motion gives the reader/viewer a much more complete understanding of URT’s achievement…The URT bumped and curved and staggered and finally sailed a course that defines political and cultural struggle in the U.S. during the last quarter of the Twentieth Century … the company continues to do that from the millennial turn to today, comprising forty-five years of remarkable theatre-making. …Theatre historians themselves would do well to examine this account to appreciate the achievement."