To commemorate the last day of WinterFest, the South Carolina State Museum’s nearly three-week long holiday celebration, Saturday will be filled with special activities throughout the museum.
It starts in the lobby, where a craft station will be ready and waiting for kids to create holiday-themed projects. On the fourth floor, a self-guided scavenger hunt will lead puzzlers on a tour as they seek out the items they need to complete their quest. And at 1:30 p.m., the Columbia Marionette Theatre will perform “Professor Brainstorm’s Brilliant Idea,” the story of Professor Brainstorm’s search to figure out and then create “The Most Useful Thing Ever.” With the help of his robot friend, Reboot, and the principles of the scientific method, his brilliant idea is brought to life. This will be the Marionette Theatre’s only performance of “Professor Brainstorm.”
Working with marionettes is a complicated task that takes years of practice (and lots of patience) to perfect. The puppeteer controls movement of the multi-limbed puppets – walking, gesturing, bending – from above the stage by manipulating a cross-shaped platform from which 8-to-12 strings run to different parts of the marionette.
It’s an ancient art, too. In 15th century Myanmar, marionettes were often used by royal puppeteers to teach morality lessons and share news with a largely illiterate public; in China, they performed for the gods. By the 18th century, in Europe, theatergoers flocked to see marionettes performing full-length operas.
Crafts, the scavenger hunt and the Columbia Marionette Theatre Show are free with regular admission to the State Museum, 301 Gervais St. For more information, visit scmuseum.org.
Katie McElveen, Special to The State