By Holli Harms

The Macanuda is a mystical character created and performed by Deborah Hunt. She is a journeyman. Traveling about and rescuing and saving. There is no language for her. She slays monsters who set cities on fire, she destroys them and rescues others. She dances and cooks and delights in life. The set is a boat sail for displaying all the props and a suitcase that holds ships and water and giant fish and sailors and stories. This is a beautiful and quiet piece. The simplicity and beauty of both storytelling and Deborah Hunt’s performance made me think of Slava, the clown. Her work is both puppetry and clown work, a clown in the European sense, this is not red noses and big shoes. She wooed the audience. Most of us were adults, but there was one very wee one probably about 3 who was a wiggle worm before the show started and once it started the little one sat quietly on her mother’s lap and watched with wide eyes. The same way the adults watched.

Hunt is completely engulfed in the puppet. All is covered but her hands, which are so expressive. The hands and the movements of the Macanuda speak volumes. No more is needed.

This is not so much linear storytelling as it is circles and triangles. Shapeshifting movement on the stage. Hunt said that this is a statement about immigrants. In the back of my program is “The Macanuda Manifesto” which gives you fifteen instructions to live by, they range from “Keep things simple”, “Don’t kick the dog,” to the more poignant and clearly touching on immigration, “Welcome strangers in small boats.” “Offer refuge to these travelers.” She ends with number 15, “ Have your own happy dance.” Words of wisdom.

The Macanuda created and performed by Deborah Hunt.
Running time: 40 minutes

Starting August 16th most performances will be Virtual though there will be some that will be in person at The Clemente. The virtual programming will be streamed through Puppet Fringe NYC Facebook Page.

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.