Ann and David Powell, aka Puppetmongers Theatre, have been delighting audiences for nearly 40 years with their extraordinary and innovative puppetry creations, fusing strong storytelling with their quirky sense of humour and technical wizardry. At the forefront of puppetry arts in Canada, the award winning Puppetmongers have created 12 original shows for both young audiences and adults, and have toured extensively in North America, Europe and the Middle East. They are 5 time recipients of Citations of Excellence from the Union Internationale de la Marionette, and winners of both the Award for Excellence and the Presidents Award from the Puppeteers of America. Closer to home, they are 2 time Chalmers Canadian Play award nominees at their productions have received 11 Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations.
For March break, Puppetmongers Theatre presents The Brick Bros. Circus created and performed by Ann Powell and David Powell, March 12 th to March 17th.
I ask David Powell ten questions: five about himself and five about his work with his sister Ann.
1) Which of your parents do you resemble (what’s your nationality / ethnic background)?
I was always a bit more like mom. The family is from England – though dad has Welsh blood a few generations back, and mom may have Scots a few farther back – but she was born in Sarawak (N. Borneo – then almost a part of the British Empire).
2) What is the best thing / worst thing about what you do?
The best is having fun being creative, the worst is the grind of having to make a living doing it.
3) Who do you like to listen to or watch?
My music interest is mainly Asian: Javanese Gamelan, Persian and Indian classical, Chinese Guqin etc. Watching? Other people at work; image/visual theatre; Cohen Brothers movies etc
4) What ability or skill do you wish you had, that you don’t have?
That one is simple: natural business skill – requiring no arduous training to get there.
5) When you’re just relaxing (and not working) what is your favourite thing to do?
Daydreaming is pretty good, but I also really enjoy cooking – mainly Mediterranean styles and Indonesian/Malay
5 more questions concerning the upcoming presentation of Brick Bros. Circus.
1) How does performing Brick Bros. Circus challenge you?
The bricks are pretty heavy and have sharp corners – and they sometimes resist what I am attempting to get them to do. One March break we played at the AGO, a Kung-Fu brick ripped my thumb open – the show went on, clenching the cut shut, and I had five stitches in it after we took our bows. And I don’t believe anyone in the audience noticed!
2) What do you love about the puppets you’ve created for Brick Bros. Circus and what you’ve written for them?
They are very easy to acquire – Ann is out buying a small load tonight, as we always have to replace at least one of the Kung-Fu contestants each show (those darned Kung-Fu bricks again!).
3) Do you have a favorite moment or section in Brick Bros. Circus?
I am pretty fond of the whole thing! The contortionist brick is pretty special, as is the Cirque-au-Lait sequence…
4) How do you relate to Brick Bros. Circus as a modern brother/sister?
Not sure how modern a brother I am – been at the sibling job for almost 60 years now… But we started the Brick Bros. Circus in 1978, and with the occasional change in acts and quite a few repairs, it seems to still be very current – electrically so with the right audience! We toured it in Newfoundland last Fall and it was a blast.
5) Is there an influence you’d care to name, a particular artist or an ensemble whose work you especially admire?
Puppeteers whose work I have admired and enjoyed would be Felix Mirbt, Le Theatre de Cuisine, Old Trouts, Sandglass, Bruce Schwartz, Julie Taymor, Paul Zaloom etc etc.
Puppetmongers Theatre presents The Brick Bros. Circus created and performed by Ann Powell and David Powell,
March 12 th to March 17th, daily matinees at 2:30 pm.
Puppetmongers’ Studio, 401 Logan Avenue (at Dundas east), Toronto.
For family audiences: Ideal for adults, and children aged 4 and up. Tickets: $12 at the door
Early bird discount tickets $10 : available on-line only until March 11 at www.puppetmongersbricks.eventbrite.ca
EXTRA: Post-show Puppet Making Workshops after weekday matinees
Suitable for children aged 5 – 12, $10 per child.
Info: www.puppetmongers.com or call 416-469-3555