Labapalooza puppets are too mean and miserable to be Muppets

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Come and play — but the puppets of this DUMBO production are not okay.

Labapalooza, a four-day theater festival at St. Ann’s Warehouse, offers a surprisingly adult, even sinister set of puppet characters, such as three inebriated thugs plotting to cheat and murder each other in a 1980s West Village watering hole.

“It goes from funny, hilarious, and wild, to sad, heartfelt, and scary,” said Christopher Skinner, a playwright.

The productions have a wild and weird flavor for a reason — they are the results of St. Ann’s Warehouse’s Puppet Lab, a program which brings both amateur and professional puppeteers together — working hand-in-hand to develop fully realized puppet shows.

“It’s a really interesting process, because you see people’s work from conception to the full fledge show,” said puppeteer Scott Jackson. “Each participant would show their story and then we’d get feedback. It was amazing, an amazing opportunity.”

The festival reflects the artistic vision — often a dark one at that — of each participant, but the artists involved in Labapalooza have created a festival that is more than the sum of its parts. This may be a good thing because the parts themselves can be a very grungy — and not just the plays — which include a sad tale of a woman and her dying father, and a story about a group of discerning chefs condemning all dairy products (they’re just not that good for you) — but the entire production has the feel of a collaborative and sometimes ad-hoc experiment.

“To be 100-percent honest, our bar, which is full sized, we got probably half of the material to use out of people’s recycling,” said puppeteer Erik Booze. “So, the bar is actually the box for a Pottery Barn crib; somebody got a crib for their baby and that’s now our bar.”

Labapalooza at St. Ann’s Warehouse [38 Water St. between Dock and Main streets in Dumbo, (718) 254–8779,] May 31–June 3. $20.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like The Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!