The Old Trout Puppet Workshop returns to the Vernon Performing Arts Centre with its new production

The Old Trout Puppet Workshop returns to the Vernon Performing Arts Centre with its new production

Puppets show how ignorance was bliss

The third play of the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Society’s 2013-14 theatre series is Ignorance by The Old Trout Puppet Workshop.

While our lives today are amazingly easier than those of our ancestors, many of us can’t shake a nagging sense of dissatisfaction. So, on our common behalf, the Old Trout Puppet Workshop has gone searching for our lost bliss.

The Edmonton troupe’s new production, Ignorance, follows man through the evolution of happiness, told through puppets, and is the third play of the Vernon Performing Arts Centre Society’s 2013-14 theatre series.

It takes the stage at the centre Jan. 24 at 8 p.m.

Founded on a ranch in southern Alberta in 1999, the Old Trout Puppet Workshop is a puppet theatre company dedicated to exploring the outer edges of the puppet medium.

“Their work is renowned for being artistically stunning and captivating. The workshop continues to strive for unique original art and does so with great success,” said Erin Kennedy, artistic director with the Performing Arts Centre Society, which has hosted the company’s The Erotic Anguish of Don Juan and Famous Puppet Death Scenes previously.

Ignorance takes place in a cave fashioned by two giant interlocking antlers. The performance is lit by a fire that casts flickering shadows over some strange primitive ritual performed by slope-browed cro-magnons. They are telling a story using rocks and branches and bones — our original story of our fall from grace.

“Ignorance follows our prehistoric ancestors who once howled with joy, stamping rocks with their grubby feet over the steaming remains of a mastodon, while we, their clever descendants, settle for feeble tweets, stuttering Skype and hot yoga all the while stifling the mightier shrieks that surge below,” said Pityu Kenderes, one of the artistic directors and co-founders of The Old Trout Puppet Workshop.

Ignorance is a puppet documentary about the evolution of happiness – from the thick-blooded hearts of the ancient caves, to the ethereal heaven of our light-speed future – it’s about where we all went wrong, and how we might solve this problem without alcohol, tranquilizers or other induced ignorance.”

Contrasting this primal tale of woe are scenes from our modern world of Facebook and traffic jams, carefully illustrating our own trajectory away from paradise.

“It seemed important to show the struggle of our cave ancestors with the struggles of modern existence,” said Kenderes. “While we are both trying to survive in different worlds, we are all fighting for the same thing: an elusive sense of happiness.”

Ignorance is geared towards mature audiences as it contains content such as suicide and has nudity (through puppetry.) It also features strobe lighting effects, theatrical fog and haze.

Tickets for Ignorance are $40 for adults, $37 for seniors and $35 for students, available at the Ticket Seller box office, 250-549-SHOW (7469), www.ticketseller.ca.