Mermaid’s Tears: one more week!

Mermaid’s Tears is appropriate for children, but it deals with adult themes. It is a story of loss and hardship, a story of families torn by tragedy and pain. But… it is also a story of redemption and resilience. It is a play that is going to be visually beautiful, with a hint of darkness around the edges.


It’s terrifying!

I mean… the play isn’t terrifying, but the prospect of people actually WATCHING it is! I always have to freak out the week before a show. It’s a thing.

This coming week is going to be intense. The set was moved into the theatre on Thursday, and now the exciting part of painting and dressing and fancifying can start! Fancifying is a fancy word for Building the Illusion!

set1        set2

Building the illusion of water, the illusion of wind and salt air and foggy mornings. The illusion of shadow and light, the illusion of puppets who seem real. Then Cameron Dexter, the magical God of lights and sound and set and all things digital, will twerk and tweak and… no.


No twerking.

Totally different play.

He will make light-y things happen. And music-y things happen. It’ll only take about sixty hours. No biggie.

Rehearsal every night this week. Plenty of nerves and excitement and last-minute adjustments because “Oh my god, my mermaid’s boobs are sagging” and “my head piece is giving me an aneurism” and “where’s the tail? Anyone? Tail, anyone?” But it will be fine… it will allll beeee fiiiine.

Lots of people have been asking if the play is appropriate for children. This is a good question… as adults we immediately associate puppetry with the realm of childhood, of make believe, but that isn’t necessarily so. Anyone who has watched the astounding Anomalisa will understand how powerful puppetry can be to convey mature themes.

Puppets are symbolism, puppets are metaphor.

Puppets are more than Bert and Ernie, although I can still watch old Sesame Street clips with great enjoyment! These days it’s difficult to determine what “appropriate for children” really means when so many mainstream children’s films are rife with sexual innuendo, gender bias and violence. I mean, have you watched the scene in Despicable Me 2 where they tie the lady to the roof of the car? Child appropriate?

That’s a rant for another day.

Mermaid’s Tears is appropriate for children, but it deals with adult themes. It is a story of loss and hardship, a story of families torn by tragedy and pain. But… it is also a story of redemption and resilience. It is a play that is going to be visually beautiful, with a hint of darkness around the edges.

The character of the Horrible Mother is, indeed… horrible! If you are bringing young children, there might be some scary bits. There is no inappropriate language, nudity, or overt violence… no animals or children were harmed in the making of this theatrical performance… but the Horrible Mother does get herself worked up a bit! Actually, we really hope she’s scary… that’s kinda the whole point. So please, bring your children, with the understanding that theatre is good for everyone, even when the performance sometimes touches on the darker side of life.

Mermaid Struggle

Again, we are delighted to share the stage with the Queen’s Community Choir for all three performances. After the Friday and Saturday shows, the audience is invited to stay and have a glass of wine and mingle with the cast and crew to see the puppets up close and ask whatever questions you many have about our process and method. The Sunday afternoon performance is a “pay what you can” show, if you prefer to attend a matinee. We are very much looking forward to your comments, so we can consider our approach to the Liverpool International Theatre Festival in May. What works? What doesn’t? Your perspective is invaluable to us!

I hope to write another update here before we hit the stage, but it depends how crazy the week is! (It is also the first week of a new semester at school, and I have seventy new students to torment.) Thanks to everyone who is liking and sharing our social media promotions, we love your support and interest!

Mermaid’s Tears at the Astor Theatre in Liverpool, NS

Friday, February 5 and Saturday February 6 at 8pm, $17/adult and $10/students(Meet and greet following each performance)

Sunday, February 7 at 2pm for “Pay What You Can” with no ticket reservations. First come, first served.

You can buy tickets here: Astor Theatre

You can purchase online tickets here: Ticketpro

You can find our facebook page here: Mermaid’s Tears on facebook

You can find information about the LITF here: Liverpool International Theatre Festival




Mermaid’s Tears is back!

We’re back!

After a brief hiatus, our merry troupe of thespians is on track to perform “Mermaid’s Tears” at the Astor Theatre in Liverpool on February 5, 6 and 7th, 2016.


I’m hoping to blog about our progress over the next month, as we approach showtime, so we can share our process with you. Putting on a play is always an adventure… we are all volunteers working around family and jobs and distractions and children and emergencies and colds and weariness and a multitudes of demands… but this play seems to be particularly fraught with challenges because of the nature of the puppets and the set, and the struggle of creating a performance from an original script. Usually, when we do a play, the playwright knew what they were doing when they created the play…

This, is not that.

We’re fixing the bugs as we go. Because Libby don’t know how to write plays! 😉

When we postponed our performance in November (read about that here) we knew it would be difficult to maintain our momentum, especially through the Christmas season, and into winter. Schedules change, time constraints appear, real life intrudes. As a result, unfortunately, our lovely mermaid Lily is unable to continue playing with us. As we pondered what to do about the mermaid… she is kinda important to the plot… we decided to re-create her as a puppet. We love Kate Dexter, who has stepped in be a puppeteer for the new mermaid! This was not part of the original plan, and has precipitated a flurry of mache and fabric and scales and fins over the last few weeks. I’m trying to record this process, since I didn’t do much of that in the building of the original puppets and I’ve been asked several times, usually in the grocery store, how these creatures are put together. The amazingly magnificent Lynn Sponagle, (who I affectionately call Sponzie), is building the tail. (I also call her Sponzarella, the Queen of Tail) She is the seamstress, I am the mache-stress, and between the two of us we hope to create something sparkly! (Call Sponzie if you want good tail!)

Here is a time-lapse video of the final maché of the head. I’ll follow up with images of the tail and all the rest over the next few weeks. The music on the video is an original song written for the play by Jessica Jurgenliemk.

Please like our FACEBOOK PAGE

Please check out TICKETS AT THE ASTOR

And please have a safe and fabulous New Year!

(BTW, this is my 100th post on this blog! Getting it in just under the wire before 2016!)

Puppets and mermaids and seagulls, oh my!


This gallery contains 4 photos.

I’m embarking on a somewhat terrifying adventure as a Thespian. But it’s more complicated than that… as a Thespian-Playwrite. Actually, as a Thespian-Playwrite-Puppet-Maker. Well, to be perfectly clear… as a Thespian-Playwrite-Puppet-Maker-Puppeteer. Hence the terror. It’s a “Jack of all Trades, … Continue reading