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Puppeteers Converge on Minneapolis for Handmade Worlds

A moment from <em>Love Is...,</em> part of the Handmade Worlds puppet festival.

A moment from Love Is..., part of the Handmade Worlds puppet festival.

A gaggle of puppeteers from around the country are in the Twin Cities this weekend for Handmade Worlds, a national festival held at Open Eye Figure Theatre and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre.

It opened Thursday night with performances at both venues. Open Eye featured the final two performances of the revival of Strumply Peter. Heart of the Beast hosted Connecticut artist's Larry Hunt's mask-based Love Is...

See also: "Strumply Peter" recreates the madcap imagination of childhood

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Hunt mixed intriguing physical work with less successful characters. These segments, where he took on personas such as a hard-living singer or an effete theater-loving poet, would start strong but linger on long after their sell-by date. Still, whatever bad vibes were created would dissipate during other dance-like moments, such as when Hunt put a mask on the back of his head and moved to a medley of music from The Wizard of Oz.

Open Eye and Heart of the Beast have teamed up with the Great Lakes region of the Puppeteers of America for the weekend event. Puppeteers from around the country have gathered and will perform, as will a number of local creators.

Along with the performances, a number of workshops (Hunt will lead one called "Mask Movement for All") are scheduled through the weekend.

Performances for the rest of the Handmade Worlds festival are at Open Eye Figure Theatre (506 E. 24th St., Minneapolis), its adjacent studio space, and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (1500 E. Lake St., Minneapolis).

Today: 5 p.m.: The Mysterious Metamorphosis of Mr. Krank, by Toybox Theatre and Cripps Puppets (HOBT) 7:30 and 10 p.m.: Full Moon Puppet Show, curated by Liz Schacterle (OEFT) 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.: Oakwood Apartments, by David Commander (OEFT Studio)

Saturday: 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.: Skeletons in the Closet (HOBT) 1:30 and 3 p.m.: Pulcinella, by Paul Mesner Puppets (OEFT) 1:30 and 3 p.m.: Finding Home, by Eulenspiegel Puppets (OEFT Studio) 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.: Asleep at the Wheel, Microcosm, and Giacco, by Michael Montenegro and Birdheart by Julian Crouch and Saskia Lane (OEFT) 7:30 p.m.: ADA/AVA, by Manual Cinema (HOBT) 9:30 p.m.: Rodeo Wing Ding Cabaret, by Festival Performers (OEFT)

Sunday: 10 a.m.: Open Eye's My Life as A Fairytale, presented at the American Swedish Institute (2600 Park Ave. S., Minneapolis)

Tickets for individual performances are $7-$15. Tickets can be purchased by calling 800.838.3006 or visiting online. A complete list of workshops is also available.