Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
This production features over 30 rod puppets and animations. The three main characters Wynken, Blynken, and Nod are introduced in Eugene Field’s poem of the same name. Then each character presents his own story poem of The Fly-away Horse, The Nightwind, and Seein’ Things. All selections are found in Field’s book Poems of Childhood. The Fly-away Horse is reminiscent of the Muppet Babies television show of going on an imaginary journey on a flying horse. The Nightwind speaks of the terrors of the sound the trees make in the winds at night. The closing poem, Seein’ Things, tells of the childhood fears of going to bed in a dark room. Although full of ‘scarey’ imagery, the production remains light and poses no problems for the younger set who would tend to scream at the sight of puppet witches and ghosts.
The show is a joy for all ages. Children are entranced by the constant action, poetry, and classical music. Adults appreciate subtle humor and childhood emotions depicted in the poems and combined with the great classical music. The production includes musical selections from Rimsky Korsakov’s Le Coq d’ Or, Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances, Prokofieff’s The Love of Three Oranges March, Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Gounod’s The Funeral March of a Marionette, and Joplin’s The Entertainer. Tom Bonham gives a solo puppet performance animating the many characters simultaneously.
Larger than the traditional “Punch & Judy booth,” the production is presented in a 12 foot wide stage which allows easy viewing from the entire auditorium. While lighting effects are not essential to the enjoyment of the program, the show is presented with lighting effects in areas where the room may be darkened which further enhance the dreamy atmosphere of the production.
Tom Bonham also presents his popular Know the Vocabulary presentation before the show demonstrating numerous ways to make quick, easy puppets actually creating half a dozen puppet characters from scratch in the brief 10 minute presentation.