Last night I performed the puppet show of The goat in the chili patch for the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. I changed my mind about the ant puppet I'd made, using instead a truly icky plastic ant I painted red:
The choice of the paintbrush to show scale isn't random. I used the paintbrush as a rod for the ant, so my fingers wouldn't be visible. It worked. The daughter of one of the librarians last night noticed that I used a paintbrush, so I told her how I look around my house in search of useful stuff when I'm working on a show. This was as she was helping me pack up. She said, "I like helping famous people." I love that.
I've had some funny additions to the show. On Tuesday in Hiawatha, as I was explaining that removing the animals from the old lady who swallowed the fly (via an opening at the top of her back) was a delicate operation requiring a surgeon's hand, a young boy asked, "Did you scrub?" Yes, indeedy. Then last night in Topeka, at about the same point, two girls (ages around 6 and 7) started making beeping noises. "Ah, the hospital monitors are working well."
When I tell The goat in the chili patch, I ask the kids which animals came to tell the goat to get out of the garden. The usual suspects turn up--pigs, chickens, sheep. Sometimes they suggest tigers and lions. It works just as well. In the puppet show with stage, I even put a lion puppet in.
This is a good summer reading theme. I'm a bit tired, having done 33 shows since May 30 (yes, some days have more than one show), but I'm still having fun. That's key.