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Preview: New Orleans Puppet Festival 

Will Coviello on the second annual puppet extravaganza

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The inaugural New Orleans Puppet Festival featured mostly large-scale puppets. This year's festival has grown to two weekends and two venues, includes an array of puppet sizes and styles (marionettes, rod and shadow puppets and more) and offers both family-friendly and adults-only shows. The only giant puppet performance during the first weekend is The Pearl Assembly by the local troupe Skookum Heebee Tumtum Productions at the Marigny Opera House. Second weekend giant puppet shows include Calliope Puppets' When Night Dreams, and the Chinese-style dragon puppets in the Mudlark Puppeteers' The Monkey King. Family-friendly shows are at the Marigny Opera House from 7 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Late-night shows are at the Mudlark Puppet Theatre, and material ranges from risque offerings to tales of murder and demons. Asheville, N.C.'s Toybox Theatre and Cripps Puppets performed at the 2011 New Orleans Fringe Festival and returns with another installment of Billy the Liar (pictured) and a "puppet slam" featuring a collection of short works. There's also a screening of Miss Pussycat's The Mystery in Old Bathbath. Visit www.marignyoperahouse.org for schedule. — Will Coviello

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