|About Paul Mesner||Synopsis|
Paul Mesner, puppeteer, author and performer became interested in puppetry at an early age. As a teenager he studied with Lee Ridge in Lincoln, Nebraska before starting his own puppet theater in Omaha. He toured his shows throughout Minnesota before studying at the prestigious International Institute of Puppetry in Charleville-Mezier, France. He moved to Kansas City where in 1987 he founded the Paul Mesner Puppets. His lively performances present classic stories recast in contemporary terms. Audiences across the United States have delighted in the precise craftsmanship, dynamic presentation and joyful blending of humor and education in all his productions. Paul Mesner believes wholeheartedly in entertaining his audiences and doesn’t mind including deeper meanings and life-lessons when no one is looking.
Paul Mesner regularly collaborates with local and national artists, musicians, fashion designers and crafts people to create puppetry that showcases his unique brand of humor. He presents performances using many different types of puppets, from simple finger puppets to rod and stick puppets, marionettes, shadow puppets, and even bigger than life-sized puppets worn by performers. His company, Paul Mesner Puppets, Inc. is a not for profit company located in a rehabilitated inner-city warehouse providing 7,000 square feet of production, administrative, workshop and rehearsal space.
Paul Mesner presents a full season in Kansas City and travels nationally to residencies, festivals and workshops, reaching more than 100,000 children and adults annually. Paul Mesner has appeared at numerous festivals all over the United States, including the Henson International Festival of Puppetry in New York, Puppeteers of America National and Regional Festivals, Cultural Arts Festival at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Park City, Utah, the Orlando Puppet Festival and in Europe at the World Exposition in Seville, Spain in 1991. He has performed at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater in Phoenix, Northwest Puppet Theater in Seattle, Tears of Joy Puppet Theater in Portland, Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta as well as Tillis Center for the Performing Arts, Long Island, Detroit Institute of Arts, Children’s Fine Arts Series in San Antonio, Montalvo Arts Center in Sarasota, CA and other theaters and museums.
Paul Mesner has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Missouri Arts Council, ArtsKC Fund as well as other foundations in the Kansas City area. He has received awards for educational and artistic achievement. These include two UNIMA-USA Citations for Excellence in Puppetry for Sleeping Beauty and Wiley & the Hairy Man and the Distinguished Service to Education Award from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His company has collaborated with The Coterie Theater, The Kansas City Symphony Orchestra, The Kansas City Chorale, the Kansas City Camerata, the Civic Opera Theater, the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, the Omaha Symphony, The Cheyenne Festival Singers and annually with the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival with performances of a children’s version of their main stage production. Paul Mesner Puppets is one of fifteen arts organizations in the Kansas City Area that make up Arts Partners, an innovative, sequential, arts-in-education program for grades Pre K-12 that integrates the education programs into the curriculum of nine school districts and two individual site–based schools. Arts Partners works to make the arts integral to basic education and accessible to every child.
What are the poor villagers to do? The holiday-hating, hill-dwelling hobgoblins are determined to ruin yet another Hanukkah for them. Every year the beasties snuff out the menorah candles, destroy the dreidels, and pitch the potato latkes on the floor. But these wicked wet blankets never counted on someone as clever as Hershel of Ostropol showing up. Using his wits and a few props--pickles, eggs, and a dreidel, will Hershel manage to outwit all the creepy critters and break the spell? Join us for this fabulously creative adaptation of the ancient Hanukkah story in which the Syrians forbade the Jews to worship as they wanted.