By Holli Harms

There is magic happening on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and you are all invited to witness it, be a part of it, delight in it. The International Puppet Fringe Festival at The Clemente Center is for the most part free, has outside seating, and is pure magic.

The Teatro SEA Theater was part of the opening of the festival with their production of Los Grises/The Gray Ones, a homage to our elderly and the gifts they still have to bestow on us. Eight elderly hybrid puppets – human and puppet inhabiting one body – take over the stage in the courtyard of The Clemente. To the Latin music of their era they dance and entice, they play and laugh, and charm one another and us. These elders are giving us a look into their world where they still want to play a game of dominos that is competitive and boisterous, they are old but not done living. The game of dominoes is played across gender lines, the women against the men, and the audience is encouraged to cheer on their team.

Puppets have a long history in the world. They have been found as far back as 3,000 years in Asia and Greece. Every culture has used them in theatrical performances and religious ceremonies. They are instruments of telling and showing our deepest desires and fears that transcend our human impression.

The Gray Ones are reminding us of our elderly and to hold them in great regard. To remember that they too were once young and in love, young and in lust, young and believing the world was their oyster. Respect and inclusion are all that they ask of us.

The audience was made up of young and old and all of us were laughing and clapping and cheering on our eight new friends. I was spiritually lifted by the puppets. Loving and laughing and giggling and bouncing in my seat. The music, the extraordinary performances all taking over every fiber of my being.

Live Performances run until Sunday, August 15th at The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center. Starting August 16th most performances will be Virtual and the virtual programming will be streamed through Puppet Fringe NYC Facebook Page. Check the Website HERE for further information.

Teatro SEA The Latino Theatre For Young Audiences presents Los Grises/The Gray Ones.
Running Time: 40 minutes

The International Puppet Fringe Festival NYC is a biennial puppet theater fringe festival hosted by Teatro SEA and The Clemente in the Lower East Side of New York City. It was supposed to happen last year but as we all know last year was a wash for festivals. This year it’s back and we are so lucky to have this gem in our city. Learn more at

Your vaccination card is needed for you to get in so don’t forget to bring it along.  Capacity outside is kept at 50% so that social distancing can be practiced. The festival wants to keep everyone healthy and safe.