What happens when Henson puppeteers are unleashed? You get a new breed of intelligent nonsense that is Stuffed and Unstrung – a live, outrageous, comedy, variety show for adults only. Enjoy an unpredictable evening when six talented, hilarious, expert puppeteers will improvise songs and sketches based on your suggestions! With a motley group of characters brought to life by the world renowned puppeteers of The Jim Henson Company, this is not your average night at the improv and it is definitely not for children. But all others are welcome to enjoy the uninhibited anarchy of live puppet performance as never seen before.
Stuffed and Unstrung is a silly, daring and exciting challenge that has evolved from a small class where our puppeteers could work on their improvising skills. Traditionally, going back to the earliest appearances my dad did on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show and many others, our company’s style of puppetry has always involved improvisation. It was quite often true that our funniest moments on set happened after the director yelled cut. Improvising brings a certain energy that is exciting, irreverent and unique and I wanted to strengthen that comedic voice in our work.
So back in 2005 we invited some performers, fed them pizza and hoped for the best. The class was funny and we thought other people might think it was funny too. So we had a little private show and a festival scout was there. The next thing we knew we were no longer a class but a world-traveling troupe of skilled puppeteers who improvise – or skilled improvisers who puppeteer, whichever you choose.
Perhaps what has been the most rewarding for us has been how much our audiences have embraced the rebellious anarchic energy that gets unleashed with this show. It can be a little disturbing to see unrequited love between a goat and a fish, but we find it delicious and surprising and it has been wonderful to have audiences around the world agree with us.