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Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre to perform at Festival of Wreaths, elementary school

Contributed photo
Pictured are Monica Leo, left, and Eli Portugal.
Contributed photo Pictured are Monica Leo, left, and Eli Portugal.

The world of puppetry is coming to Osceola.

Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre will be the main entertainment at the Festival of Wreaths and Arts Show Nov. 18 at the convention center at Lakeside Casino Resort.

The puppet theater will present Stories and Cuentos, an international collaboration.

The show is developed and performed by Monica Leo and Mexican puppeteer Eli Portugal, co-founder of Mojiganga Arte Escenico.

Their performance includes two classic Mexican animal tales.

Two tales

The Rabbit in the Moon, a well-known myth, "gives a whimsical explanation for the shadows we see in the moon, while delighting audiences with the age-old battle of wits between rabbit and coyote."

The Musical Ant, a lesser-known tale, follows Hormiguita "little ant" as he learns to play the piano and brings peace to his ant colony through music.

The production uses hand puppets, rod puppets, masked characters and music and incorporates both Spanish and English.

The festival of wreaths social begins at 5 p.m. with a buffet dinner at 5:30 p.m. The presentation of wreaths is scheduled 6:15 p.m.

The holiday show begins 7:15 p.m.

The cost to attend the event is $30 per person.

For additional information, call The Village at 641-342-1421. RSVPs may be sent to The Village, 2500 College Drive, Osceola, IA 50213.

The event is cosponsored by The Village and Clarke Area Arts Council.

All proceeds from The Festival of Wreaths and Arts Show support the continuation of The Village Early Childhood Center and Clarke Area Arts Council Artists in the Schools programs.

Elementary school

The puppet theater will also have a three-day in-school residency at Clarke Elementary School Nov. 13 through 15.

"I'm very excited," said Clarke Elementary Art Teacher Sarah Dentlinger. "It's a great opportunity for my students to meet somebody who creates a form of art that they might not think of as much."

The puppeteers will be primarily in the art classes Nov. 13 and 15, and have an all-school presentation Nov. 14.

Dentlinger said she's excited to have the puppeteers create puppets with the students, including shadow puppets.

She said the in-school residency will, hopefully, encourage students to make art at their home and adapt it to their materials.

"It's very exciting that they're going to work with so many kids," Dentlinger said of the puppeteers.

About the puppeteers

Monica Leo is a first-generation American, born to German refugees in the waning days of World War II. After the war, her parents ordered a set of Kasperle hand puppets from a German craftswoman, and Leo was hooked. Since 1975, she has been
creating and performing as founder and principal puppeteer of Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre. Eulenspiegel, the recipient of the 2000 Iowa Arts Award, has toured in 28 states and four other countries.

Eli Portugal of Jalapa, Mexico, was the co-founder and principal puppeteer with Mojiganga Arte Escenico from 1988 to 2002. Mojiganga toured Mexico, Japan and the United States, including tours in Iowa in 1995 and 2000. Portugal studied music, theatre, and dance at the University of Veracruz in Mexico. In addition to her performance and design skills, she has extensive experience teaching workshops to children, as well as teachers.

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