Regular readers (Hi Marisela!) may remember that about a year ago, I was in a 2-hour-long improvised musical — with puppets! I would always put the “with puppets!” in there because it seemed the epitome of difficulty. It’s hard enough to improvise anything. Then you make it a 2-hour-long story, and you’ve upped the difficulty significantly. Toss in improvised songs, and you’re out of your mind. Then add puppeteering — trying to bring a piece of fabric to life, while making up songs, while remembering the overall story arc and all the other character’s just-made-up names — and I figured no way could you make it any crazier.

Leave it to Un-Scripted (the SF Bay Guardian’s Best Theater Company of 2008) to add a whole ‘nother level by doing the whole thing in Bollywood style. Which means every show also has magical Bollywood-style dance numbers. So now you gotta know some choreography.

I won’t go into the (completely improvised) storyline of the show I saw last night, because it changes every night, but suffice it to say that watching puppets that I’d actually worked with a year ago now “dance” Bollywood-style was sublime. And that getting to see Alan and Clay and David after so long was a fun flashback. And that Mandy may be one of the world’s best puppeteers: the way she brought a puppet (whose head I made last year in the puppet-making workshop, by the way) to life, imbuing him with so much emotion, was just a joy.

One week left! And it’s right next to Aaron’s play, in SF Playhouse, so make it a two-nighter. Oh, and they have fresh-baked cookies and super-cheap beer you can take into the theater. And Alan’s blogged about the rehearsal process. And I’m not in it. What more do you need?

The Great Puppet Bollywood Extravaganza, at SF Playhouse Stage 2, 533 Sutter St., San Francisco, through Dec 2o. Tickets at un-scripted.com.



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