Only in Minnesota would people dress in layers and walk the snowy streets to hear a familiar story of Christ’s birth. “La Natividad” is a tale told in both english and spanish by puppets, masked people, children, and instruments. This is not your typical show. In the Heart Of The Beast Puppet And Masks Theatre
does a great job of turning it into a creative adventure. Be prepared for movement. The show is around two hours and you travel a few blocks in Minneapolis. Bundling up is a must!
There are five locations that help unfold the story. At the Las Mojarras Restaurant, the annunciation is told. An angel comes to tell Mary that she will be giving birth to a son named Jesus. A mariachi band plays and helps narrate. Afterward we walked across the street to the Plaza Verde where Joseph is contemplating where he shall bring Mary, how he will provide for a family, how he must fill out documentation to travel. This was done with puppets, an angel, and two story tellers who also played music. At the Avalon Theatre the shepherds have fallen asleep. The stars come to wake them up and we meet the three wise men as well as King Herod. A chorus of angels sing and the audience is told to “follow the star”. Mary, Joseph and a donkey lead the procession through the streets. On the way to “Bethlehem” we stop at someone’s house who is playing the inn keeper. They tell us there is no room for them. King Herod stops the crowd and will not let us pass for a while. We are finally granted permission and are handed candles to walk the rest of the journey to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. When we arrive, Mary gives birth to the Christ child and there is a large fiesta.
The puppets were a sight to see. The three wise men were huge looming creatures which were hard to ignore. My eyes were drawn to their beautiful masks and movements. King Herod was dressed in all grey with a crown and painted face. He had puppet hands that were large and he motioned very well with them. “No” and “You can’t” were gestures he symbolized many times.
The costumes were wonderful. Some angels were dressed in golden robes with wings. The choir of angels were in blue robes with matching hats and scarves. The shepherds were all asleep on the floor with red blankets when the “stars” woke them up. The stars were children dressed in all blue and holding silver stars. They were absolutely adorable and did a wonderful job. There were other puppets portraying animals that came to Jesus’ birth. Each creature was lovely and excited the audience.
At the end of the night there was music and people were clapping and dancing. After the show they served soup, chips and salsa, and coffee. People sat in the community room of the church, ate, and chatted together. It was a beautiful, refreshing way to watch theater. Instead of sitting in a seat for a few hours and keeping thoughts captive in your mind, you experience it with a group of people.
If you want something new this season, I would suggest stepping outside of your comfort zone and attending “La Natividad”. The show runs through December 22nd. For further information visit:
In The Heart Of The Beast Puppet And Mask Theatre
612 721 2535