The Colby College Department of Theater and Dance presents The Long Christmas Ride Home by Pulitzer-prize winner Paula Vogel on November 10-12, 2011 at 7:30pm.

In Paula Vogel’s play, past, present and future collide on a snowy Christmas Eve for a troubled family of five. Featuring Bunraku-style puppets and live actors, the play puts an average American family on display to show how we love, hurt, and dream.

To create the puppets, the Department of Theater and Dance teamed up with Carol and John Farrell, founders of Figures of Speech Theatre, an internationally regarded puppet theater based in Freeport Maine. Vogel’s play focuses on the lives of the family’s three children, played by live actors and by student operated Bunraku-style puppets. Colby professor of Theater and Dance Todd Coulter, who is directing the play, brought in the Farrells to build the puppets and to train Colby students in the intricate art of operating them. For Colby students, this is an unusual opportunity to learn a revered form of Japanese puppetry and to expand definitions of acting and storytelling. For area audiences, the pairing of live actors with Bunraku-style puppets in The Long Christmas Ride Home is both haunting and beautiful.

The Farrells founded their theater company in the early 1980s and have performed across the country and the globe. They recently presented their work and aesthetic philosophy at a TEDxDirigo talk in Portland (Click Here to watch John and Carol). The couple view puppets as vessels; their role as puppeteers is to put egos aside in order to allow the personality of the characters they are portraying to move through them and into the puppets. It is truly a magical experience to watch them work.

Admission is free and tickets are available at the door. The play concerns adult themes and is not recommended for young children.