'10 Virgins' offers puppetry, plus a look into the depths of the human soul

There's a lot going on in 10 Virgins, Theatre Unbound's latest work now playing at the Lowry Lab Theater. And that doesn't even include the puppets. The play, written by Laura Jacqmin, follows 10 sisters who reside together in a forest. They live seemingly content until one of the sisters believes that she's found away out. Will her siblings let her leave?

The play explores the trappings and underpinnings of fairy tales, which comes out in many ways in the script. The story's timelessness gives "the audience full access to the universal themes of power, manipulation, and choice," says Artistic Director Stacey Poirier. "It presents the idea that men are not always the obstacle holding women back -- women are often held back by other women."


To bring the story to the stage, the company crafted puppets for five of the sister roles. "I think there was a point when we realized it was a much bigger undertaking than we imagined. The puppet build alone took hundreds of hours," Poirier states. "This was something new and definitely intriguing for our company."

Theatre Unbound worked with Sara Schmidt-Boldon, a former Jim Henson Company puppet maker (she also worked on Avenue Q), to craft the non-human cast, and local puppeteer Jennifer Walker to work with the cast.

In the end, "everybody loves the puppets," Poirier says. "I think the best comment to hear when someone leaves the theater is 'Wow, that really gives you a lot to think about!' And that is the reaction our audiences are having. This is the kind of show that gets a discussion going on the way home."

10 Virgins runs through November 21 at the Lowry Lab Theater. For information, visit Theatre Unbound online.