puppet theater

San Diego Puppetry Business Trip #2: The Crane Maiden.

I recently came back from my second “business trip” in the mild California climate to perform puppet shows with my mom, Millie Patterson, at the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater in San Diego.

My last trip was in April when we performed Peter Rabbit. We totally monetized off of the Easter season, and I do feel a bit guilty for that. But, bunnies sell well in April.

This summer, I flew to California again to perform The Crane Maiden. This show is extra special because I actually co-produced this show.  My creative influences can be found in the anime references and aesthetic.

Along the way, I documented everything I did, from breaking puppets backstage during rehearsal, selfies with my parent’s cats, to the Comic Con signs I saw as I left San Diego right at the beginning of the convention madness. I saw cosplayers carrying props in the airports. I so wished to be part of the fun!

I enjoyed the comforts of my old home. This “business trip” felt more like a vacation.

We had much fun performing our third run of The Crane Maiden in the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater. The Crane Maiden is a classic Japanese folktale that can be found in the children’s section of your public library. A peasant, (fisherman in our rendition, farmer in most re-tellings) finds an injured crane and nurses her back to health. I will not reveal the rest of the drama here. You can find the story in its various versions under the titles “The Crane Wife”, “The Crane Maiden”, “The Crane Returns a Favor”, and “The Crane Daughter”.

The Crane Maiden is a popular story used in Japan’s traditional puppetry style, Bunraku. Although Weaver’s Tales and I built a large-scale show based off of a Japanese tale, we are not attempting to perform bunraku puppetry.  Bunraku puppetry is a very respected art that is rather exclusive. Bunraku is traditionally passed from masters to their apprentices, who train for years. -Bunraku artists learn from other Bunraku artists. American puppeteers have used elements of Bunraku for otherwise American puppetry, but that is separate. Bunraku Bay Puppet Troupe is the only troupe of bunraku artists who perform in the United States.

I was a bit sad to leave the mild climate in San Diego, CA; but I am very happy to be at home with my Hunny Bunny!


2 thoughts on “San Diego Puppetry Business Trip #2: The Crane Maiden.

  1. P.S.F. says:

    Wow, this sounds fantastic! It seems like you had a great time. In addition, I think it’s really cool how you didn’t perform bunraku puppetry and used a different creative style.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alison Rushing says:

      Thank you! I had a fantastic time in California. I was glad to visit my side of the family. I hadn’t seen my sister in six months!

      We had to invent a new style of puppet to make this large scale show happen. We put “skis” with footholds on the end on the puppets’ feet to make them walk and held them up with a harness and clips.


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