Posted October 31, 2013 in MH Combermere ON:
The Blue Door Theatre

by Carol Ann Gieske.

"Mommy, are they real?" the three year-old excitedly whispered as he watched a small shivering man, huddling before the old Quebec heater, exclaiming how chilled he was.

The little boy watched fascinated as a drama of faith unfolded on the tiny stage. The shivering man bewailed their plight—no coal for cooking or heating unless some was delivered today.

Meanwhile, the Baroness and the cook prayed for coal, while the atheist scoffed and harangued. Would the prayers be answered? Would the coal arrive? Would the atheist’s mind and heart be changed?

Children and adults alike were captivated by the marionettes as they acted out this true story about trusting God from the early days of Friendship House.

Puppetry is an old art, popular in various forms in many countries, and now enjoying a renaissance in North America.

I love everything about working with marionettes, stringed puppets. I enjoy adapting stories, legends, and historical events into plays. It’s fun to make the stage settings. And to find the sound effects that enhance the play is a good challenge.

But for me there are two very outstanding joys in this art form.

The first is creating or restoring a marionette. Most of the marionettes I have came in donation—tattered and bedraggled. I pray as I first study them, waiting for inspiration of how to fix them. Once they are repaired and re-strung, I ask, "What is your name?" If my heart is quiet a name will come. So, yes, marionettes are "real"!

As I manipulate the marionettes with my hands, curiosity and life light up the human faces of the people who watch and relate to these little creatures, these "little people".

This is all a great joy for me, and I praise God for the opportunity to share this talent I so recently discovered within myself.

As Catherine emphasized, art is an expression of creativity that comes from within one’s soul, and art in any form can be a bridge of friendship. The marionettes are a way of reaching out, of sharing life, and of proclaiming God’s love for all creation.

The play that Trina Stitak and I presented for the St. Joseph’s House 50th anniversary we called "A Dramatic Faith". I adapted it from a chapter in Catherine Doherty’s book, Not Without Parables.

This play is particularly dear to me, as this book of true stories of faith was my introduction to Catherine Doherty, and eventually led me to my vocation in Madonna House.

We thought we might present the play twice in our afternoon celebration, but so many people wanted to see it that we had to do it five times! Such a gift for us.


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One Man's Scrap, Another Man's Gold (October 2013)



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