WVU Puppet Mobile performs for Preston kids

KINGWOOD — Puppets are a fun way to tell a story, according to Kevin Smith, resident artist of puppeteering with the WVU Puppet Mobile.

Smith and six of his students brought the story of “The Three Little Pigs” to life Friday at the Preston Community Arts Center (PCAC).

In Smith’s version, Wolf isn’t feeling well and visits the three pigs to borrow some tissues. As he introduces himself, he accidentally sneezes and blows over the house of straw. Do the pigs lend a helping hoof? Does Wolf get better? Find out with this wacky re-telling of the well-known story.

Smith said he wrote the show and made the puppets.

“I believe kids like puppets because they look cartoony and they can actually interact and talk to you,” he said. Smith said unlike CGI (computer-generated imagery that creates visual effects using computer software), puppetry is more real.

He said the WVU Puppet Mobile program started 30 years ago by Joanne Seigrist. When she retired, the program was discontinued for several years.

“I did it for four years as a puppetry major, then I joined the Army. Now I am doing it again,” Smith said.

He said it is an honor to bring puppeteering back.

“Joanne was a pioneer in puppetry and she was my professor. I feel I am giving back to her when I do these programs,” Smith said.

He said Seigrist took the puppeteering program all over West Virginia.

“I’m trying to get it back to full schedule,” he said.

Savannah McCray, who brought her daughter, Aubrey, to the puppet show, said they both enjoyed the experience.

“I thought it was cute,” McCray said.

Jamie Thomas came to the show with Nathaniel and Ethan Goines and Alexis Thomas. Thomas said both she and the children enjoyed the show

“I loved it,” she said. “I thought it was great.” Nathaniel said his favorite was the Big Bad Wolfe.

About 50 people filled the PCAC to watch the show. The space quickly filled up, and the children sat on the floor in front of the stage.

Geraldine Sypolt said she thought the show was cute. She said her daughter, Naomi, took lots of pictures of the puppets.

Following the show, PCAC held an Easter egg hunt on the old courthouse lawn. Alicia Kilkenny, who was in charge of the program, said along with the Easter egg hunt, the children were making an Easter basket and Easter Bunny cups.

“We’re trying to increase our family-friendly and kid-friendly programs,” Kilkenny said. “Different high school bands play at our Knight Club. The program is open to everyone, and we hold it the first Saturday of every month from 6 to 8 p.m.,” she said.

Kilkenny said all but 12 of the eggs held candy. The 12 without candy were random prize eggs. There was also a grand prize. She said the prizes were either bigger candies or a stuffed animal for the younger children.

The WVU Puppet Mobile performed The Three Little Pigs at the Preston Art Center on good Friday.
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