On a Sunday morning, under the watchful eye of Chicago’s tallest building, Willis Tower, (I still think of it as Sears Tower) stands one of Chicago’s oldest outdoor markets, Maxwell Street Market. Admittedly it has moved half a mile east from its original site but it still retains much of the atmosphere and content of the old market.
As interesting as it is to poke around the flea-market type stalls, look and sample the various foods on offer and generally soak up the ambience of this historic market, our main purpose for being here on this particular Sunday is to see the puppets. And they are totally not what we expected! I think we envisioned the more traditional glove puppets, my mind going back to the days of the old Punch and Judy shows. Were we wrong!
This is way more entertaining! Especially since after each performance, the audience is invited to try out the puppets for themselves, much to the kids’ delight. Cool! I was wondering if our 15 month-old granddaughter would stay engaged enough to keep in one place for more than a few minutes but this definitely holds her attention.
This enterprising troupe of puppeteers, called The Puppet Wonder Wagon, uses a mobile performance platform made from a converted trailer, to visit various Chicago Parks and venues. The idea for these performances was conceived and created by Will Bishop and Grace Needlman and has in the past been supported by a grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.