Ralph Lee's Mettawee River Theatre Company Brings Escapades to St. John's Cathedral, Sept. 10-19

News   Ralph Lee's Mettawee River Theatre Company Brings Escapades to St. John's Cathedral, Sept. 10-19 Ralph Lee, the celebrated puppet and mask maker, and his itinerant Vermont-based Mettawee River Theatre Company, will bring their latest work — The Heroic and Pathetic Escapades of Karagiozis — to the frequent Lee haunt of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Sept. 10-19.

The new work is drawn from the puppet theatre traditions of Greece and Turkey. The hero of the stories, Karagiozis, uses his wits to get what he wants and briefly climb to the top of the heap. In the first half of the play, he is servant to Alexander the Great; in the second half he is a humble baker. Lee, a 2003 Guggenheim fellow, calls the experience "a Punch and Judy show by way of Turkey and Greece."

David Hunsaker, a past Mettawee contributor, wrote the piece. Neal Kirkwood wrote the score. A five-piece band performs. The company includes Kimberly Gambino, Tom Marion, Walter Pagan, Clea Rivera and Evan Zes.

Performances are at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $10 for adults, $4 for children. Call (212) 929-4777.

Lee is perhaps best known as the founder of Greenwich Village's annual Halloween Parade. However, he has been toiling in the realm of puppet art for decades, a leader in his field long before Julie Taymor and Basil Twist brought puppet creation into the theatrical mainstream. His puppets are folksy, elemental and often monumental, their faces and drapey bodies towering well above audiences. Among his shows are The Popol Vuh, Wichikapache Goes Walking, Psyche (with Erik Ehn) and, most recently, Communications from a Cockroach: archy and the under side, based on poet and New York Evening Sun writer Don Marquis' cockroach-and-cat duo, Archy and Mehitabel (a rare occasion when Lee took a minimalistic approach to puppet building)

He has won two Obie Awards, a Bessie and a New York Governor's Arts Award.

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