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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Zombies Speak!

Angry Young Men and friends

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Angry Young Men Ltd. is a local troupe “of geeks, artisans, mad scientists and drinkin' buddies” who put on puppet comedy-variety shows. They brought friends to chat with Off the Cuff.

Jim Henson vs. Frank Oz: Compare and contrast.


Murray Gauntman, the director puppet:
One is synonymous with puppetry. The other's still breathin'. Advantage: Oz.

Lynnyrd, zombie hunter:
Did you know Super Grover grew up to become Yoda?

Did you know Elmo is a black guy from Baltimore?


Lumpy the Golem Boy:
Did you know Art Kumbalek is two Eskimos in an overcoat?

Your shows are “one part Japanese Bunraku”?


Blondie
: The only similarity is the puppeteers' black ninja suits. It should read “one part ninja.”

Your shows are “one part splatter film.” Where do dead puppets go?


Lumpy:
Baltimore?

And “one part vaudeville.” Got any poems?

Lumpy:
 Vaudeville, vaudeville/ Where have you gone?/ The theater may be closed/ But the show still goes on./ They say 'twas TV/ That brought your death throes/ But it just can't compare/ For throwing tomatoes…

For the puppeteers:
How does it feel to be on stage, famous and yet unrecognized publicly?

Billy Ray Olsen:
If I was photogenic, I wouldn't be hiding behind a puppet.

Josh Perkins:
Makes it easier to steal Arby's sauces?

Joseph Janswig:
Frank Oz said: “It's great for going about your business, but sucks when you want someone to recognize you.” I think he meant getting laid.

How is puppeteering art?


Katie Thompson
: Dedication, discipline and hard work.

Billy Ray Olsen:
The creative process—sharing thoughts and feelings with as many people as possible.

Alice Hammers:
It's actually several art forms: sculpture, movement and performance.

Why do people need puppets?


Steve Cook:
Why do kings need fools? To say what nobody else would dare to.

Joseph Janswig:
In a highly charged emotional country at its own throat, it's important to remember how preposterous life is. If we can see ridiculousness within ourselves and not be so bloody serious and self-righteous about everything, we might actually solve some problems. I find mocking it all with puppets most helpful.

Why should people come watch you?

Billy Ray Olsen
: It's something fresh and original in Milwaukee theater. And there are zombies.

Where can people see you?


Murray Gauntman:
“Full Frontal Puppetry Summer $ell-Out!” July 13-14 and July 20-21 at Soulstice Theatre, 3770 S. Pennsylvania Ave. There's free parking. Also, October is our annual Halloween “Night of the Living Dead Puppet Show.” Live in 3-D at the Oriental—bigger, bloodier and better than ever!