WEST LIBERTY, Iowa–Always at home in nature, Eulenspiegel Puppets have performed many outdoor shows. This August, the group plans to take a new approach and perform their inaugural drive in show. “We’ve always done outside shows, but this is our first drive in show–it’s a way for us to perform live,” outlined Eulenspiegel Puppets director Monica Leo.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Eulenspiegel has performed live streamed puppet shows. However, they wanted to find a way to bring back a large live audience without having to worry about health concerns large crowds present. A drive in show proved the perfect solution. “Especially at a time like this, we knew people were craving live entertainment, so we decided to do the drive in show,” Leo explained.
Ahead of the occasion, Leo and her colleagues created an entirely new show. Titled “Shenanigans: Animals in Charge!” it presents a lighthearted look at how animals could use human spaces for their own entertainment while people stay at home during the pandemic. Leo shared her inspiration came from a news report she saw about an alligator getting into a shopping mall in Florida temporarily closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 this spring. The show will feature a charming combination of large rod puppets and shadow puppets brought to life by Leo and Stephanie Vallez, as well as a parade-sized Mother Earth puppet. Laura Kittrell will provide live music. Attendees will also receive an ice cream treat to enjoy in their vehicle during the show.
As Leo began looking for an outdoor space big enough to hold the event, Mary Swander, director of Ag Arts, an organization that promotes sustainable agriculture and healthy eating through the arts, offered to provide a field at the Land Alliance Folk School. Swander had initially planned to hold Ag Arts’ annual field day entirely online, but when she heard about the drive in show, she wanted to include Eulenspiegel’s production as an in person component to the event.
The show will take place Aug. 30 at the Land Alliance Folk School, 1259 Rohret Road Southwest, Oxford from 7 to 8:15 p. m. Admission will cost $10 per car and requires advance payment by Aug. 29 at the Land Alliance’s website. In case of rain, the show will take place Aug. 31. Eulenspiegel will place weather announcements on the Land Alliance Facebook page.