Thanks to Communication sophomore Ben Gojer, five dollars can get you a thrilling puppet experience that will take you back to your childhood and satisfy your munchies. North by Northwestern caught up with Gojer as he made puppets in the basement of the McCormick Tribune Center for pupPet Sounds, which will be held Tuesday, April 20. Known as the “puppeteering ensemble,” Gojer produced, directed and wrote the show.
What is pupPet Sounds?
It is a 4/20 puppet show spectacular that incorporates the music of the Beach Boys from their Pet Sounds album. They’re the rod style of puppets, like the Muppets. They’re resting on a surface with the puppeteer underneath who move their arms and head around with the rod that is connected to the body parts that are gunned down underneath the table.
Why did you decide to put this show on?
There’s so much theater at Northwestern it’s ridiculous, but there isn’t a puppetry group. It sort of stuck out to me that there should be a bigger outlet for it here. I got into it over the summer, but it’s something that people don’t see on campus. When you think of puppet shows, you think of kids and of having a fun time. 4/20 is a day where people like to have fun and act childish, in a good way. This is a way to reconnect to the fun and imagination that we have as kids.
What is your favorite thing about pupPet Sounds?
The puppets themselves — they’re my babies. They’re pretty cool to hang out with. I’m proud of how little money this has cost. Eighty or 90 percent of the puppets are found items, things we found in dumpsters or sticks from a branch, things from nature.
What crazy things can your audience expect?
They can expect a lot of sexual motifs and themes. Also, they can expect really big puppets, and the biggest one is about eight feet tall. There will be really great music, free food and an informative experience with comedy as well as provocative questions.
Tell me more about the food. Whose idea was that?
The Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont gives bread to the audience at all of their shows. That’s because they really like to make theater a communal experience and not just about sitting in a theater watching someone else’s art. It’s a gathering to share the experience. Eating food is a great way to bond with people, so that’s an element I wanted to bring to the show. But also it’s awesome, and especially on 4/20 when people are getting the munchies.
Is there anything else you want to say about the show?
Come see it. You’ll probably really regret it for the rest of your life if you don’t.