Thursday, April 17, 2014

Puppetry in the Wildlife Connectivity Exhibition

We've created a small "wildlife passage puppet theater" atop the wildlife bridge constructed  by Chris Koski and his team in the center of the museum, for our new exhibition "How did the cougar cross the road; restoring wildlife passages in Snoqualmie Pass" (opening tomorrow).  Under the stage, we've made a yellow highway sign declaring "Wildlife Passage Puppet Theater Above," with a squiggly arrow pointing upwards  Underneath, we expect young children will be crawling through the highway tunnels, pushing along toy trucks and cars.

Our hope is that children visiting the museum will in time compose their own short plays with puppets, either those that we provide or those that they make in the art station area. To start things out, we'll bring need to draft some scripts which our student interns can perform for visiting children.

One idea, suggested by our imaginative friend Yuko Hosoi (in Hirosaki, Japan) is that one animal, playing the role of a TV reporter, interview other animals about what they think of the new wildlife bridge.

So here's a very rough, preliminary script idea:


I'm Belinda Bear,  roving correspondent for television station WILD, reporting live from the brand new Price-Noble wildlife crossing structure near Snoqualmie Pass.   

LORETTA LYNX (entering) 

Hmm, I always said I would never, ever want  to cross that big smelly, noisy highway. But I think I might try to cross this beautiful new bridge!


Why, Loretta Lynx, what a surprise to see you here! I thought you never came anywhere near the interstate.


That's right, Belinda Bear, I much prefer to stay on my side of the highway,  unlike my brothers, who go racing across the road without giving any thought to their own safety.  (ASIDE TO AUDIENCE) Silly boys!


So our viewers are wondering, Loretta Lynx, why are you crossing the bridge today?


Well, I've been separated from my family south of the interstate since 1966. I'm eager to visit them even my silly brothers.  And this is such a beautiful bridge, i just had to try it out.


So you approve of the bridge?


Absolutely. I know you bears are perfectly happy to crawl through the underpasses, but we lynxes and cougars,  we like to be on top of things!   And it is so much fun looking down at all those funny people racing back and forth!   I really have to congratulate those engineers at WS DOT; this really is best way to travel.

So , I better be off---  South Cascades, here I come!


Well, there you have it. Our very first satisfied customer, trying out the new Price Noble wildlife bridge. 

And for Station WILD, this is Belinda Bear, wishing all animals out there a happy day of eco-connectivity!

---THE END---


We're hoping the little puppet skits can help communicate a range of important environmental contexts-- including the significance of bio-diversity, the necessity of healthy wildlife corridors, the lifeways of pika and other small mammals, etc. I'm not quite sure how we'll manage the rather fraught relationship between predators and prey, or some of the subtleties of genetic connectivity, but I'm sure  our students and visitors will come up with some imaginative, unexpected solutions.  And it would be great to see puppetry plays being written and performed in Spanish and other languages.

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