Master Puppeteers Sally Fiorello and Trish Long of Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT) are not sitting idle during this stay-at-home time – they are doing what they do best – creating and performing with puppets.
This video features Trish Long and Milo the Mouse (puppeteer: Sally Fiorello) as they make cat and fox puppets out of common household materials, including construction paper and toilet paper tubes. Families at home can print or copy their templates, as well as view a list of materials here.
As longtime members of Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts troupe AND full-time members of the DCT staff, Sally and Trish wanted to share with families the ways their initial creativity was sparked in the early years.
According to Sally, who has been professionally involved in the arts for over 50 years, “From a very early age, I was so lucky to get to do art projects and make up stories with my mom. And whether we were drawing, sculpting, writing little songs or plays and then performing them with my friends, those special times were some of the most enjoyable and inspirational moments of my young life.” They sparked my imagination and opened up my world to all kinds of fantastic possibilities.”
Trish agrees that it is important for young people to get away from the screens sometime and just imagine. She said, “Now, more than ever, screens are our main source of entertainment. They are vital to our learning and keeping in touch with the world. But human beings, by nature, require more than virtual experiences to flourish and be healthy. We all, especially children, really need hands-on, in-person experiences and time to use the very thing that will give us the most joy, the most innovative thoughts and the most freedom – our own wonderful and infinite imaginations.” She goes on to say, “Once you watch our Mouse Calls video, which Sally and I had great fun imagining and producing, we hope that you will put aside your screens and use Milo’s little art project as a springboard to have some fun with your family and to launch your own imaginations.”
Sally Fiorello designed and created Milo in the spirit of the many puppets they have used in professional shows for years. “I actually made Milo for DCT’s two previous productions of GOODNIGHT MOON. He was a very one-dimensional character in that show, but I thought it would be fun to create a spirited backstory and personality for him that kids and their parents could gradually learn about over time. He just grew out of my imagination. Milo is very charming and positive, and Trish and I both think he will be the perfect character to virtually visit kids in their homes and introduce them to all kinds of fun and imaginative ways to spend their time.”
But who is Milo? He is a puppet with a surprisingly complex biography. Born backstage at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in the famed West End of London, Milo started acting at a very early age. Performing in intimate venues throughout the UK, he became known as a versatile thespian who could take on any role. His big break came when he was accepted to the British American Drama Academy, the first mouse to ever achieve that honor.
Upon graduation, Milo launched a successful international career, performing in theaters from Australia to the US. Dallas audiences will remember him as the large, excitable rodent in DCT’s two productions of GOODNIGHT MOON. Nowadays, he occasionally takes on an acting role, but Milo most enjoys making “Mouse Calls” on all of his friends.
While so many are stuck inside, Milo views it as his mission to bring smiles and creative inspiration to all. Fans can look forward to a series of visits from the wonderful Milo the Mouse!