Front Row Reviewers

Mar 17, 2020 | Arizona, Events, Reviews

All Puppet Players Brings Levity to Phoenix During Social Distancing with Twisted and Fisted, Quarantine Edition

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers

By Sara Castillo

Because of the outbreak of COVID-19, the world is essentially on lock down, social distancing is recommended, and the threat of a new pandemic clouds the daily news. The world has been thrown into a state of panic with toilet paper becoming a commodity and hand sanitizer being referred to as liquid gold.  When no crowds are allowed and theaters have closed, how can the old saying ‘The Show Must Go On’ still be true? For All Puppet Players that cliché has new meaning. On Monday afternoon, All Puppet Players announced on their Facebook page that they would be going live that evening at 7:00 PM. They had a variety show planned that, despite being rough and last minute, would entertain their audiences. This is what they hope will be a series of shows (Twisted and Fisted, Quarantine Edition) that will happen every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for as long as the social distancing mandate is in effect.

In a telethon style show, two puppets named Hamlet (Shaun Michael McNamara) and Crunchy (Zach Funk), along with Jason M. Hammond, explain the purpose of their latest artistic endeavor. In an effort to keep the arts alive, All Puppet Players asks for fellow Phoenix, AZ theatres to contact them about performing on their newly created, thrice weekly show. The purpose of this telethon is to generate donations to help keep theatre afloat while all social gatherings have been canceled for the foreseeable future. An invitation has been extended to all theatres in the Phoenix area to bring their productions that were in current rehearsal to perform on their platform. All Puppet Players ask their viewers to donate to their PayPal account ( or through their Patreon account; they promise to help other theatres financially during the closures. But this isn’t just a basic plea for money, oh no. All Puppet Players want to reward their audience for helping with their cause. They have rewards such as the DVD of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Met Batman, but not the BluRay disc since they kept that. The first person to respond that they donated will receive a DVD case of Tales From the Darkside, whichcase is not filled with Tales From the Darkside, but with random movies like Clue, Batteries Not Included,and One Hour Photo.  These enticing prizes will surely go fast and hopefully bring hope to local theatres that their audiences have not forgotten them.

The real joy in watching this Facebook Live Event comes from the technical aspect of the show. This gorilla form of theatre, as coined by the puppet Crunchy, is exactly that. This is gorilla warfare against the powers-that-be that would stop the world from having live theatre. All Puppet Players are improvising as they go, shooting on one camera, and lacking a sound system. They are fighting dirty in the trenches with the help of techs like Kendra Lytle, Ben Mosedale, and Michael Casolary. A general appeal to anyone in the greater Phoenix area with knowledge in film editing,  camera work, or anything to help this show be better is extended. However, it was the lack of skill and knowledge that made the show so enjoyable. When the puppets curse due to lack of camera mobility and then respond to their audience in real time about their show is when the show is its funniest. There is something charming about funny people desperately trying to make something work.

As the puppet Hamlet mentions in the live event, at this time in our world it is the artist that we reach for to help us in trying times. Comedy has a special skill to help people through the darkest and hardest of days. When your days of isolation get the best of you, be sure to make an appointment to visit All Puppet Players’ Facebook page to view one of their past events or, hopefully, one of the events they have planned for the future. Hopefully with a sense of humor, and a few donations, we can all make it through these trying times.

Note: This show is PG-13, so be advised that your littles may not want to “attend” this.

All Puppet Players Presents: A Facebook Live Event, Fisted and Twisted, Quarantine Edition, written by Shaun Michael McNamara.
Where: Facebook Page for All Puppet Players
March 16 – Until Social Isolation Stops, 7:00 PM, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
Tickets: Free!
All Puppet Players Facebook Page
All Puppets Players Facebook Live Event
All Puppet Theatre Webpage
All Puppet Players Patreon Account

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