Theater Festival: The puppets do Holon

Apparently, puppeteers have a passion for their trade that no other job can satisfy.

Craig Schwartz, in the brilliant movie Being John Malkovich, clings to his desire to be a puppeteer despite the impossibility of finding a job as one. Even when Maxine, his dream girl, scoffs at him upon hearing his professional credentials and aspirations, he doesn't give up on his goal. Apparently, puppeteers have a passion for their trade that no other job can satisfy. Holon, a city that I have already described as a cultural alternative to Tel Aviv, has tapped into this passion with its puppets museum where it now hosts the 11th annual, five day, Puppets, Theater and Movies Festival. This year's focus is the political and environmental aspects of the craft. On the stage you can enjoy such productions as Paul Zaloom's critically acclaimed satire The Mother of all Enemies and Elit Webber's The Striped Tiger, a play based on a story by Yaakov Shabtai. On the screen, festivalgoers will see such films as Puppets Who Kill, about four outlaw puppets who live in a rehabilitation center who await the day when they can return to society. Children, of course, are not exempt from the festival's itinerary with such plays as Kreshendo and Me based on a story by Dvora Omer and A Journey to the Island of Maybe by Miriam Yallan Shteklis. For those interested in making puppets, there are workshops on using recycled materials. Also don't miss out on Puppets and Politics by Paul Zaloom. All through the festival the museum is open free to the public and will hold free outdoor puppet shows in its garden. If you still haven't been exposed to this unique art, check out the festival's website And, for the love of God, don't be Maxine. Give those Craig Schwartzes a chance. The Center for Puppets Theater, 13 Remez St., Holon. July 16-20. Tickets for the plays cost NIS 25-70 and movies cost NIS 20.