Puppet Masters

Paul Kennedy / UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts

Puppet Masters

Drama students closed out the season performing the acerbic, Tony Award-winning coming-of-age parable “Avenue Q” to a sold-out house at the Claire Trevor Theatre in June.

Originally conceived as a television series and relying heavily on the use of puppets operated by unconcealed puppeteers, “Avenue Q” alludes to childhood classics such as “Sesame Street” and mocks the message fed to kids that everyone is “special” and able to do anything. As the characters in this world grow up, they meet life’s harsh truths one by one and realize that nobody is more “special” than anyone else.

Undergraduates Amy Tilson-Lumetta (left) and Connor Marsh (right) took on the puppet personalities for the “Bad Idea Bears,” while Eriel Brown (center) filled the role of “Gary Coleman.”

UCI senior lecturer and vice chair of drama Don Hill directed this playful and, at times, hard-hitting commentary on all of the ways in which we pass judgment on each other based on societal stereotypes and personal differences. Says Hill: “After doing a number of darker plays this season which grappled with issues such as bigotry and immigration, we’re happy to finish with a show that is lots of fun to watch while still addressing serious themes.”