National Marionette Theatre to present `Sleeping Beauty' at community college

Howard Live

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December 04, 2003|By Marc Peters | Marc Peters,SUN STAFF

The National Marionette Theatre and its founder, master puppeteer Daniel Syrotiak, will present the classic children's story Sleeping Beauty on Sunday at Howard Community College's Smith Theatre.

The show is part of the Candlelight Concert Society's Performing Arts Series for Children.

"The professionalism will appeal to adults - they can sit back and relax and enjoy the show without having to worry about not being entertained," said Syrotiak, who hopes to draw all ages to the show.

"It is very exciting to see three generations of a family - children, parents, and grandparents - come to a show together," he said. "There is very little available for the entire family."

Family is a theme for the puppet theater: Syrotiak's son Peter is one of its three puppeteers. All four of Syrotiak's children have worked with him in the past. Peter is slated to step into his father's shoes as master puppeteer when Syrotiak retires.

"All the kids grew up around the puppets," Syrotiak said. "Peter has been working with puppets for 14 years - he is lucky. I was the first in my family; my father was blue collar. The puppets found me. I do not think we choose a profession in the arts; it chooses us."

The National Marionette Theatre has been in existence for more than 40 years. The group, a mainstay in Candlelight Concert's series for children, has been praised for the visual look of its shows.

"The children are the hardest audience," Syrotiak said. "They are used to television, which makes it that much harder; the expectations are higher, and we prepare accordingly."

The story of Sleeping Beauty is told from the point of view of the prince, but the marionette theater's production uses Tchaikovsky's ballet score as an essential element.

"Tchaikovsky's music is from a ballet done 150 years ago," Syrotiak said. "We follow the story line of the ballet, which allows us to incorporate the music into the show. A lot of times the music takes over, and we do not even need the script."

Performances will be held at 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday. Smith Theatre is at 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. Tickets are $9. Information: 410-480-9950.

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