In a small room in the Exner Block in Bellows Falls, Mud Time Theater is offering Free Friday Theater - live performances of original works by actors Steve Friedman and Denny Partridge, the co-founders of Mud Time Theater, who have worked together since 1970 on some 60 different productions.
Last Friday the theater featured a production of The Nine Questions, a play based on a newspaper article from the mid-1800s about the legend of how a Rockingham woman, before the Revolution, disappears in the primeval wilderness turning up six months later, naked and bewildered, without her baby. The play is about what happens between the lost wife and her farmer husband after she comes home.
Performed in the round, with minimal props, the play brought in a full house last week, and will be performed again in three weeks. Pass-the-hat donations after the show help offset expenses, and anyone interested in upcoming shows and schedule updates can visit www.mudtimetheater.blogspot.com.
The theater continues its winter season with a special guest performance by Modern Times Theater of East Hardwick, at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12, at 17 Canal Street in Bellows Falls.
Modern Times Theater makes puppet shows for the street, the school, the barn, the pasture and the subway. The shows convey a general dissatisfaction with post-modern convenience and promote a return to old-fashioned difficulty. Modern Times Theater is Rose Friedman and Justin Lander, a wife and husband duo who trained together for five years in Vermont's Bread and Puppet Theater.
Modern Times Theater will perform "The Jolly Banker", in which Punch and Judy (puppetry's favorite jerk and his loud mouth wife), purchase real estate only to have the Banker, Lawyer, Policeman, Judge, Congressman and God dash their American Dream to tiny bite-sized cardboard pieces.
This puppet show is performed in an elaborate stage, complete with enough bells and whistles to keep the thin plot moving along. And, if the show leaves a bitter aftertaste, the sweet sounds of the ukulele and cornet duo will wash it away.
Audience capacity is limited and there are no advance reservations. Early birds can wait in the adjacent Exner Block lobby. The theater will open for seating at 7:45.