Puppets show does it by the books

Bookish adventures . . . Creators and performers in the Dunedin Medieval Society show The Bookworm, Oscar Macdonald (left) and Jonathan Cweorth, hold the puppets of the bookworm and his sister, which will feature in performances at the University Book Shop this weekend. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

An imaginative new puppet show created by the Dunedin Medieval Society brings new meaning to life in a bookstore.

The brainchild of Dunedin author and playwright Jonathan Cweorth, The Bookworm is supported by the University Book Shop and set among its shelves.

“The UBS has supported us with many of our shows in the past, so the idea of creating a story around its books really appealed to me,” Mr Cweorth said.

“So, what we have come up with is very site-specific theatre in a fantastic space.”

The Bookworm follows the adventures of a young bookworm, played by Oscar Macdonald, who wakes up in the children’s section – where he lives – to find his sister is missing.

In his search for his sister, the bookworm – and the audience – journey around the store, encountering the weird and wonderful imagined insect denizens of the shelves.

The puppet characters, all but one played and operated by Mr Cweorth, each have their own accompanying historic musical instrument and theme, played by performers from Dunedin early music ensemble Rare Byrds.

The musical instruments will include the spinet, the bass viol, harp, hammered dulcimer and the nyckelharpa.

“Not only will the audience get to experience the puppet show, they will also be able to see and hear these medieval and Renaissance instruments up close,” Mr Cweorth said.

Being puppeteer as the bookworm is a fun opportunity for part-time actor and student Oscar Macdonald.

“This one is a little different because we won’t be hidden by a booth.”

Audience numbers will be limited to 35 adults and children for the 40-minute show.

There will be four performances of The Bookworm, at 6pm tomorrow, 4.30pm and 6.30pm on Saturday, and 4.30pm on Sunday.

Bookings can be made through the UBS.