News Column

Berky uses 'Imaskination' to bring fables to life

June 6, 2014

By Kelly Dickey, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.

June 06--ANDERSON -- Whether it's through an elaborate set or his simple mannerisms that make his masks come to life, Doug Berky knows how to put on a show.

The mask maker and puppeteer's latest performance, "Foibles, Fables, and other Imaskinations" premiered Thursday at Berkshop Theatre in the Park Place Community Center before going on tour.

Spots are still available for his Anderson performances at 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday.

In "Foibles, Fables, and other Imaskinations," Berky takes the audience around the world through four tales from Eastern Europe, India, Korea and France.

His storytelling and ability to flow from one character to the next makes it easy to capture the audience's attention.

Even the curtain speech, where the audience is told things like where the exits are, is done in character. His Yiddish old man sneakily goes from joking about phone usage in the theater to slipping into the first story of the show.

The Yiddish old man may be the simplest story told production wise, with just Berky in his mask talking to the audience, but the actor's transformation into the character makes it alluring. Even with limited facial expression abilities because of the mask, Berky strips down to the simplest way to tell a story with his voice and tiny movements.

But within minutes he's able to put on an elaborate show, with puppets and multipurpose props in "The Crocodile and the Monkey" story of his performance. Berky has no problem weaving between the hungry crocodile, trickster monkey and narrator, all while navigating his transitioning props.

Each story has its own moral, and perhaps the heaviest in life lessons is in "The Tiger's Whisker," a tale from Korea about a woman seeking help for her husband after he struggles to heal emotionally after returning home from war. Berky's use of life size puppets and tone makes it an easy story for kids and adults to connect to.

Both groups will easily be entertained by "A Simple Gift," a simple, lighthearted story of a young juggler boy finding out some of life's most important lessons. The tale involves less puppets and more audience interaction, while Berky also gets to show off some of his juggling abilities.

"Foibles, Fables, and Other Imaskinations" is a lot like the stories everyone heard growing up. They're simple, entertaining and have an overall message. But it's Berky's sets, puppets and talent that bring a certain enchantment.

The moral of the story: Even as an adult, a good puppet and story teller can turn you back into a 6-year-old.

Tickets for "Foibles, Fables, and Other Imaskinations" are $5 for children and $10 for adults. Reservations can be made by calling 610-7801.

Like Kelly Dickey on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @KellyD_THB, or call 640-4805.

If you go What: "Foibles, Fables, and Other Imaskinations" When: 7:30 p.m. tonight and Saturday Where: Berkshop Theatre at Park Place Community Center Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for children. Call 610-7801 for reservations


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Source: Herald Bulletin (Anderson, IN)

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