CMU School of Drama

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Stage preview: 'Hand to God' unleashes one wicked puppet at City Theatre

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: If you see a guy walking around the South Side with a puppet, say “Hi.” Just don’t be surprised if the puppet answers.

Nick LaMedica is the guy, and the puppet is Tyrone, his co-star in “Hand to God,” the wicked comedy about a foul-mouthed demonic puppet who wreaks havoc among members of a Christian Puppet Ministry in a Texas town.


Benjamin King said...

One of my co-workers from this summer works at City Theatre now and she was telling me how excited they are to be putting on this play! I think it is a great sign that a regional theatre company in Pittsburgh is able to produce a terrific script that was on Broadway not that long ago. It’s also interesting since this show is so recent from Broadway that it is not part of the Broadway series and I’ll be interested to see how City Theatre will approach it on a smaller, more intimate scale. To be able to bring this level of writing and story-telling to Pittsburgh is a great step. Hopefully, this show will be able to attract some younger audiences to the theatre. Pittsburgh is now being recognized as a developing theatre scene, however from what I can gather this is still a very large age gap in audiences.

Claire Krueger said...

I'm big into anything that critics or examines the functions of religion and I wish I had unlimited money to go see this play. From what I can gather from the article the puppet is foul mouthed and wicked, a funny combination with religion. After reading the article I really want to go see this show now, money or no money.

Getting the part because he was able to show how skilled he was with the puppet goes to show that coming prepared and practiced goes to show how much going the extra mile is integral in the huge art of networking.

Sam Molitoriss said...

I remember seeing this on Broadway last summer and enjoying it. The show was overall pretty good, so I'm interested in City Theatre's take on it. I liked that the article talked in dept about the puppet element of the play. It really is an exciting thing to watch a skilled puppeteer control a seemingly lifeless, non-realistic puppet. Now, I know that it's all in the arms. I agree with LaMedica's point about puppets being able to offer a lot of surpise for an audience. We don't really think we can emotionally connect and react to a simple hand puppet, but a masterful operator can turn that expectation on its head, and boom. We're surprised. This show has a significant surprise/shock factor. I think the crazy shocks combined with the puppets (who are often creating the shocks) makes this show pretty unique. I also agree with Ben in that having a recent Broadway play opening in Pittsburgh this month says a lot about the cultural development here. I hope to see more like this soon.

Emily Lawrence said...

I am very excited to see this show now that I have read this article, as I had only heard a few things about it before this. I love to see shows that question the norms of society and this one seems to do just that. Society as a whole, including myself, does seem to be comfortable with addressing religion, so I am glad more this show is coming because it will help just a little. It is also good to be putting on comedies in society right now, because it is very easy to get caught up in the horrible things that are going on around us. When my past theatre company was going through very rough times, my director wanted to do a comedy to bring some happiness to the cast and the community. It really did help, and the more comedies that are done the more people that will get to sit back and purely relax for two hours. I am also thrilled to see the puppetry in this show because I have always found it fascinating. I loved the puppetry in War Horse because it gave life to the puppets which would otherwise be hard to accomplish. By using a puppet, it makes the show easier to watch than if it were just one actor onstage constantly talking to himself. It makes the topics at hand seem more conversational, which they are. I am excited to see this show and how it plays to religion in society.

Jamie Phanekham said...

I have been begging people to come see this show with me next week. From the time it came out in New York, I've been intrigued with it. Partly because I love all things puppets, and all things with religion in an interesting manner.
And actually in high school, I suggested my teacher do a puppet exercise after this show came out. We all had to create a puppet like this with a moving mouth, and most importantly, a hand. The hand is the most important part, like the article states. It takes it from a simple sock puppet to an almost real being. We had to perform 2 person scenes with our sock puppet and ourselves. Obviously it didn't compare to this show or production, but it was extremely challenging. To perform simultaneously as two characters, one emoting in your hand, changing expressions and you speak, and vice versa, it gets very complicated. But it's also an amazing mindset to be in. You suddenly realize what the other character's reactions have to be as well. And in a show where his hand is the devil, I seriously cannot wait to see how he inflicts his voice and how he can stay in both characters.

Nick Waddington said...

I think Theater is supposed to be a critique on society, and that it reflects it in many ways. this is why i like seeing satirical shows which comment on some point of society, whether it be religion, the economy, or our current political situation. I am excited to see this because i think it will be a nice break from the "real world" while still connecting to society in some way, making it not only funny, but mentally engaging. I also love everything about using puppets in theater, since doing Avenue Q in high school i have always wanted to see or do more theater with puppets, they provide a joviality to the show that doesn't detract from the message of that show, and i think that's fantastic.