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Orlando Sentinel

Puppets, Play Show Hispanic Influence In Festival At Center For Arts

BY Sara Sheckler

January 31, 2003
Copyright © 2003
Orlando Sentinel. All rights reserved. 

KISSIMMEE -- A puppet show featuring puppets that "speak" in both English and Spanish and a play in Spanish will be presented this weekend at the Osceola Center for the Arts.

The free shows are part of the Central Florida ArtsFest, which features a variety of events Saturday and Sunday in Osceola, Lake, Orange and Seminole counties. The festival is being presented by United Arts of Central Florida, of which the center is a member.

"Osceola County has a very large Hispanic population and we want to celebrate the arts with our Hispanic community," Kip Watson, the Center for the Arts director, said.

Each show will be at 2 p.m. in the center's 250-seat theater. Tickets will be available first come, first served.

On Saturday, the center will present members of The Talentos Hispanic Theatre performing scenes in Spanish from Asi es la Vida.

Sunday's show will be the MicheLee Puppets of Orlando performing in a show titled Paginas Latinas. The show will feature three children's books: It's Mine, The Flute Player/La Flautista and Juan Bobo Goes to Work.

Asi es la Vida was written by Ricardo Avila, a Venezuelan who also stars in the play.

"The play looks at different aspects of life, such as love, jealously and poverty," Tito Galarza, director of the Talentos Foundation for the Arts and Culture in Casselberry, said.

Galarza said the presentation of Asi es la Vida, which was performed at the center this month, will mark the debut of the theater company at ArtsFest. Patrons can meet the actors and the author after the play.

"There are a lot of talented Hispanic people in the area who have many ways of expressing that talent. This play is only a small sample," Galarza said.

The theater company is scheduled to perform a new play in March at the Central Florida Fair and at Orlando's Fringe Festival in May.

"We want to offer Hispanic people in the area venues and opportunities regarding performing arts," Galarza said.

The theater, which offers workshops in dance, voice and acting, was established in September 2002.

Paginas Latinas will be presented in English and Spanish.

"The puppeteers sometimes do a line in Spanish and then the same line or a different line in English, or in `Spanglish,' a mix of Spanish and English," Denise Beiley, business development manager at MicheLee Puppets, said.

It's Mine is set in Mexico and uses fluorescent puppets in a black light. The Flute Player/La Flautista features life-size puppets and shadow puppets and is set in a large city in Peru. Juan Bobo Goes to Work is performed tabletop style with bun raku puppets and takes place in Puerto Rico.

MicheLee Puppets has presented shows for 18 years. "Last year we performed in nine Florida counties and more than 100,000 children saw our shows," Beiley said.

The Center for the Arts is a half-mile east of Florida's Turnpike, Exit 244, at 2411 E. U.S. Highway 192 (Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway).

For details, call 407-846-6257.

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