A fanciful new series, Beer and Puppet Theatre, will launch at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Vashon Brewing Community Pub.
The maestro of the series, Adam Ende, is billing the evening as “Vashon’s first puppet slam,” with a line-up that includes a crack team of puppet makers and performers both young and old. For the past several weeks, he has hosted the group in his Dockton studio to brainstorm, collaborate and share ideas for the upcoming series.
The aim, Ende said, is to “give island artists and puppeteers a chance to fearlessly experiment, have fun, collaborate and face the challenge of creating new work on a regular basis.”
In turn, he said, audiences will be treated to an evening of multi-generational, short-form puppetry that often crosses the line into clowning and performance art, presented in an intimate, warm setting.
Ende is the founder of Jawbone Puppet Theater, and over the course of a decades-long career, he has created genre-blurring performances, puppets, parades, community pageants and large-scale installations in locations ranging from Vashon to Seattle, Taiwan and New York City.
These days, he creates much of his work with his 11-year-old son, Ling Ling Endelin, who will be one of the children performing on Saturday at the pub. In addition to his son’s work, the puppet slam will also include a show written and directed by a 9-year-old, and a 3-year-old will present his take on the solar system.
Ende was quick to point out, though, that even with children performing, the show will still be edgy and experimental, and not what some audience members may have come to expect in “family friendly” entertainment.
“We avoid insipid cutesy pap — our shows are smarter and stranger than that,” he said.
On deck for the first slam, he said, is a Slovakian folktale and stories about witches, esoteric clowns, death by freezing, death by fire and death by the wrath of God, not to mention a little Kafka thrown in for good measure. Luz Gaxiola, of the clowning group Duo Finnelli, has also signed on to perform new clown pieces she is developing.
Ende said the community pub — a cozy, high-ceilinged venue — seemed an ideal spot to launch the series.
“It was the first place I thought of, knowing that they are excited to try new things there and establish themselves in the community,” he said. “The fact that it is small is an advantage …. some puppets are small, and you want people to be up close and see them.”
The show will also be performed at Cafe Racer, in Seattle, on Friday, Nov. 30.
“We hope to draw people out of their caves and create some warmth, light and laughter as we move into these long, dark winter months,” Ende said.
Ticket prices for the evening are $8 or $5 for kids age 5 and younger, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. To learn more, visit vashonbrewing.com and adamende.art. Artists of all ages, experience and skill levels are invited to take part in the upcoming puppetry slams. The next poetry slam will take place in mid-January. To find out more and get involved, contact Adam Ende at 347-455-5558.