DTH: Can you elaborate on the multiple styles of puppetry?
DZ: So masks, giant puppets, stilt walking, marionettes, rod puppets, shadow puppets, moving painted flats and pretty much anything else we can think of to move around, bring to life, I guess, is what we do. We don’t really like to limit ourselves, but we tend towards papier-mâché and cardboard masks and heads and giant things, but we use fabric in different ways. You can sort of bring anything to life if you approach it in the right way.
DTH: What exactly makes your program unique?
DZ: I think all of the things that I just said pretty much makes it unique for this area, but it doesn’t necessarily make it unique in the world. There’s a rich tradition of puppetry and giant masks and things from all over the world, really. We just are sort of the ones seemingly holding that down in this area of the world. We get inspired by those groups, and at this point, we’ve been around long enough that lots of people are being inspired by us as well, just, you know, sharing different ideas and different ways of building things and different ways to approach solving different problems in the puppetry and storytelling world.
DTH: Why should people come to your show at the North Carolina Museum of Art?
DZ: Because it’s awesome. I mean, really, because it involves 30 puppeteers and seven musicians — there’s a live band, so the music alone is worth coming for. You just get filled with a visual and auditory spectacle, and there’s really something for everyone — big, flashy stuff, intimate moments, as well. It’s pageantry and it’s just sort of an extravaganza of visual and auditory delight, so it’s worth coming to for all of those reasons.
DTH: What is the play about and what are some highlights from the performance?
DZ: The show’s called “Of Wings and Feet,” so there’s quite a few birds and sort of these proto-humans that are trying to figure out what it means to fly and what wings symbolize. But there are also some giant turtles along the way that sort of draw them in a different direction. So there’s giant birds, there’s giant turtles, there’s a big circus as sort of a center act, and then there’s sort of a giant pageant — we call it “The Living Land” — which is a huge Mother Earth that’s like 60 feet wide and a giant sky-bird-god kind of a guy. So the circus is really fun, but the pageant is more sort of swirling and epic, and the bird and turtle part is more sort of fun, but also quite beautiful and very energetic. There’s a lot of great drumming and great dance that happens in the piece — dancing pigeons, dancing flamingos, it just goes on and on. There’s a lot of stuff in the show.