I tried to think of many things to say when writing this post about the performance of Great Expectations at the Center for Puppetry Arts. I couldn’t think of anything, but one word: Fantastic.

Pupeteer David Simpich welcomed us into his imaginative and, quite frankly, mesmerizing world of hand-carved marionettes and creativity through his original production of the Charles Dickens classic.

Walking into the theatre, I didn’t know what to expect. It was very dark, with the lone marionette that would be the story’s main character, Pip, sitting underneath a soft spotlight. My expectations were exceeded. This performance moved me. Why? Simpich created this entire world before the audience all by his lonesome. He brought every single character and situation to life with amazing voice control, intricate set design, and seamless transitions throughout the entire piece. I almost forgot he was standing back there. That’s how hooked this performance left you. Perhaps my favorite character portrayal of Simpich, was that of Miss Havisham, the classic Dickensian character who fell deeply into heartbreak (even that is an understatement) after being jilted at the altar. The spirit he poured into these characters was phenomenal. Each marionette came to life that night, and will continue to do so whenever this performance runs again.

What also captivated me was Simpich’s portrayal of Dickens as a puppeteer. Controlling and turning these magnificent scenes of darkness and turmoil, into breathtakingly creative bolts of light. Truly magnificent. This piece will be hard to follow, let me tell you.

Great Expectations, both the Charles Dickens 1861 classic and Simpich’s original production, are both works of art. It is magical. It is brilliant. It is simply Simpich.

For more information about the performance or David Simpich, please visit: http://puppet.org/perform/greatexpectations.shtml


Wendell Scott


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