In Sarah Ruhl's The Oldest Boy, we are struck with the intersection of two worlds - western and eastern - as an American mother and her exhiled Tibetan-national husband must decide what two do when two Buddhist monks visit them to reveal that their three-year-old son Tenzen (portrayed by a Bunraku puppet) is the reincarnation of one of their high lamas. The mother wavers between the poles of two crises: giving her child away, and being true to the faith she wants to take on.
The script includes several 'ceremonies' noted by the playwright as being used with Tibetan dancers or singers, which our small cast could not accommadate. Stylistically, we chose to incorporate shadow puppetry for these ceremonies and dream sequences, kept consistent by the use of two large shadow boxes on the sides of the stage that in Act One house cutout silhouettes of a cityscape and in Act Two are changed out for mountain cutouts.
Director: Cynthia Levin
Puppetry Direction: Paul Mesner
Puppet Design: Mike Horner
Lighting Designer: Alex Perry
Scenic Designer: Sarah White
Costume Designer: Ian Crawford
Sound Designer: David Kiehl
Props Master: Bret Engle
Technical Director: Alex Perry
Assistand Technical Director: Jamie Lindeman
The Unicorn theatre (Kansas City, Missouri)