The horrific stories about kids and bullying just keep on coming. Even in the face of something extraordinary like the “It Gets Better” campaign, bullying persists and the damage is deadly. It may take generations to quell the cruelty, so let’s get started.
Walnut Creek native Leslie Carrara-Rudolph is doing something about bullying in the best way she knows how. If you saw the wonderful Muppet puppet improv show Stuffed and Unstrung at the Curran Theatre last month, you saw what a genius puppeteer Carrara-Rudolph is. Well now she’s returning to her hometown with a children’s show that directly address bullying and self-esteem isues – but in a fun, family-friendly way for ages 6 and up.
The show is Wake Up Your Weird, and it stars a sock puppet named Lolly Lardpop. Take a peek:
Carrara-Rudolph, an Emmy–nominated Sesame Street puppeteer, says she wrote this show “because I thought it was a whimsical way I could address some of the emotional issues young people are dealing with today and give them some creative tools to express themselves. I wanted to show kids how easy it is to access their imaginations. I think of Wake up Your Weird as a ‘show and tell.’ The first act is the ‘show’ and the second act is the ‘tell’ where I tell the audience how to do what they just saw on stage. I love the arts so much and this piece comes straight from my heart and allows me to share that love and connect with communities and reach all ages. Theaters are a hub for humanity.”
Carrara-Rudolph’s one-person, multimedia show addresses bullying and self esteem issues and teaches kids how to navigate life creatively. The first act is a musical short story developed at the Ojai Playwright Conference in 2009 and was further developed at the Eugene O’Neill Puppetry Conference in 2011. It has received a Jim Henson Foundation grant and was awarded an “UNIMA Citation of Excellence” for the version, performed at the 2009 International Puppetry Conference. In 2010, Leslie was a featured artist at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.
Wake Up Your Weird has its premiere at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek this weekend. Shows are at 7:15pm Friday, Sept. 30; 2:15pm and 7:15pm Saturday, Oct. 1; 2:15pm Sunday, Oct. 2. Tickets are $20. Call 925-943-7469 or visit www.lesherartscenter.org.