Arm-of-the-Sea Theater will open its waterfront performance venue, the Tidewater Center, with five performances of its annual Esopus Creek Puppet Suite August 18 to 22 at 8 p.m. This outdoor event fuses live music with large-scale mask and puppet characters in a celebration of puppetry’s ancient communal roots and its emergence as a vibrant modern artform.
Motifs in this year’s Puppet Suite include a Catskill Forest Rhapsody, Sonata of the Great Flood, Elegy for the Departed and A Reckoning with the Remedies. The performance ensemble includes musicians Eli Winograd, Bill Ylitalo and Aru Apaza, along with veteran puppeteers Kira deCoudres, Anna Hafner, Soyal Smalls, M. J. Smythe and Ryan Smith, plus participants from the community. Marlena Marallo created the lush visual elements and Patrick Wadden directs the action.
The organization is developing the Tidewater Center as a cultural park for arts, aquatic science and local heritage at the site of a 19th-century papermill. This new open-air performance space is situated between towering mill ruins and the tidal Esopus Creek. “We’ve been an itinerant troupe for decades,” notes Wadden. “Now we’re establishing our own ceremonial site right where a mountain stream plunges to meet sea level. It’s a very liminal place, fitting for the ephemeral nature of theater. And, thanks to truckloads of clean quarry material capping the industrial grounds, the site is non-toxic, tick-free and COVID-safe.”
Admission costs $5 for kids and $10 for adults. Tickets are available at the venue entrance each evening and online at Eventbrite. Audience members are encouraged to arrive early and bring lawn seating. Arm-of-the-Sea’s Tidewater Center is located at 61 East Bridge Street in Saugerties. For more information, visit www.armofthesea.org or call (845) 246-7873.