This page is dedicated to a production of Honk!, the winner of the pretigious Olivier Award for best musical, composed and written by George Styles and Anthony Drewe - a remarkably heart-warming, updated and expanded realization of The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen. Honk! has received thousands of stagings around the world, inspiring and delighting audiences of all ages with an emphasized message of tolerance and inclusion.
Robert was captivated by its style, humor and sensitivity, and so envisioned a way to bring its characters to life with large marionettes, and thanks to the producing efforts of the Goodwill Theatre and SRO (Standing Room Only) Productions, both of Johnson City, New York, was able to do just that.
The photos shown below are but a small documentation of the wonderful (not to mention laborious) process that took more than eight months to complete.
On to the marionettes: sculpting, molding, casting, sanding, carving, painting, sewing and a bit of carpentry.
It started with some sketches of where the story would take place.
With Covid restrictions still in place at the time, the production was moved from inside the Goodwill Theatre to an open tent in an adjacent open space.
Fun after the show concludes with a reprisal of "Warts and All."
Eleven intrepid actors of the SRO community, under the direction of Scott Fisher, were cast to each play several roles. Besides a typical rehearsal period of blocking and choreography, they also received an intensive series of lessons and ongoing direction from Robert in the art of puppetry.
As one actor exclaimed, "First we had to learn how to hold the marionettes' controls so that we could stand them properly on the stage floor (not too high, not too low); then we had to learn how to make them walk and dance and gesture with their wings; then we had to learn how to open their mouths while we spoke and sang our lines; and now we have to do all those things all at the same time!"