First of all, this was way more gorgeous that I ever could have anticipated. Second, who knew that a play with barely any words at all, AND puppetry, could be so moving? Staged for the third time, now at New World Stages, The Woodsman is as unique of a theatrical experience as you could hope for in New York these days. I was invited to see it last Monday night and I was so excited, especially when @endotique agreed to come with me.
The Woodsman tells the story of how the Tin Man (of Wizard of Oz fame) came to be. But this isn’t another Wicked by any means. The wonderful ensemble cast of Strangemen & Co. tell this incredibly moving story with a violinist, very minimal singing, puppetry, manmade sound effects (the fire crackling, the crows, etc), and mime. The most words, which are few anyways, are during the prologue to set the scene and how the land east of Oz was ruled by the Wicked Witch of the East and things were less than awesome.
There really aren’t words to explain how amazingly done this show is, so you just have to go see it.
Afterward, we were invited to stay for a chat with a lot of the cast moderated by Cheryl Henson of The Henson Foundation (third from the right).
James Ortiz (third from the left), who played the Tin Man (aka Nick Chopper) and helped develop the show from it’s inception, talked about his love for the original Oz stories and how their ensemble made all of the puppets themselves. The cast told us how the show is always evolving and they’re very good at listening to each other’s breath and taking cues from that since there are oftentimes no words.
I can’t express with words sufficiently how awesome this little play is, so you just need to see it for yourself. Buy tickets.