GOBLIN MARKET Set for CRT this Weekend

GOBLIN MARKET Set for CRT this Weekend

Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) will present the World Premiere of Goblin Market by Penny Benson, inspired by the poem by Christina Rossetti, March 27 - April 6 in the Studio Theater, Storrs. For tickets and information, call 860-486-2113 and visit www.crt.uconn.edu.

The creative power of the University of Connecticut's Puppet Arts program is on display in the world premiere adaptation of Christina Rossetti's entrancingly atmospheric narrative poem Goblin Market. The production is a collaborative effort between the Puppet Arts program and CRT, combining live actors and puppets onstage together.

Two sisters, in the service of a troubled household, must resist the hypnotic call of seductive goblins who tempt them with luscious fruits and promises of unimagined ecstasies. When one of the sisters is sacrificed to the goblins, her sibling must risk her own life to bargain with the supernatural creatures in order to save her sister from certain demise. With actors, imaginative puppetry and surprising theatrics, Goblin Market promises to weave an enchanting spell around the theme of human connection and disconnection.

Goblin Market was written by MFA Puppet Arts candidate Penny Benson, inspired by the poem published in 1862 by Christina Rossetti. The original poem was bold in its portrayal of women's power and sexuality given the strictures of Victorian social norms. Benson's adaptation blends contemporary values into a fantasy world, weaving the narrative together using the strengths of both actors as well as the puppets.

Penny Benson who is also a professional actor from the Boston area said, "I chose to adapt Rossetti's Goblin Market for the stage because of its rich imagery and the potential inherent in a world where real people interact with magical beings. One of my biggest challenges in writing the play was letting go of my desire to remain true to the poem while creating a community around the two sisters who are the poem's only human characters. What resulted is a play with contemporary themes which, while inspired by the poem, is a completely new work. Even in the early stages of rehearsal, it is remarkable to watch my characters, both human and goblin alike, come to life. How can one resist the goblin's alluring call, "Come buy, come buy!"?"

Director Margarita Blush, a former student of the internationally known puppeteer Nikolina Georgieva, brings another perspective on performance and directing to complement the multi-faceted approach to the play. Bart Roccoberton, Director of the Puppet Arts Program, said of Blush, "Her eastern European sensibility will bring something very different in the way we work. ... Puppetry in Bulgaria is the leading theatrical form in the country. Many of the great directors, film and stage, went through the puppet academy." This production marks Blush's first time directing at CRT since joining the UConn faculty in the fall of 2013.

Blush said, "Our re-envisioned theatrical interpretation of the classical poem Goblin Market has been a collaborative artistic search for themes and ideas that resonate with all of us through time and space and remind us what's most important - our human connection and our ability to empathize, belong, love and remember that each one of us is a thread in a delicately woven tapestry."

Photo by Gerry Goodstein

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