A scene from the puppet show, "Travels in the Belly of a Whale." Photo courtesy of Geppetto's Junkyard Show.

A scene from the puppet show, “Travels in the Belly of a Whale.” Photo courtesy of Geppetto’s Junkyard Show.

About a dozen artists with the Haines puppeteer troupe, Geppetto’s Junkyard Show, will be here in Petersburg performing during the Little Norway Festival this weekend. KFSK’s Angela Denning has more:

The puppet show they have for Petersburg will follow the story of a fisherman.

“It features a fisherman, a Petersburg fishermen named Inar,” said Gene Kennedy, one of the puppeteers. “And Inar goes out fishing on the big water, gets into a storm and one thing leads to the next and he falls overboard. And he goes sinking down to the bottom.”

“Not that we want to give too much away though,” chimed in Gene’s wife, Debi Knight-Kennedy, another puppeteer in the group. “But he has quite an adventure after he goes overboard.”

The troupe’s shows vary between following a single story line to a compilation of vignettes. All of the shows are for all ages although the nighttime shows are catered more for adults.

It’s all original work—the scripts and stories. And they also do original music.

“Like in this show there will be some original music,” Knight-Kennedy said.

“And a couple of standards old standards that people will recognize,” Kennedy said. “But we have a two or three real talented musicians, songwriters. So there’s original music every time.”

Kennedy and his wife are dedicated to their craft. It’s actually more than a craft, it’s their art.

“There’s fantastic sets,” Kennedy said. “We enjoy building gawdy sets.”

You can just look at pictures of the sets and tell that it takes a lot of time to put it together. The group spends a few months on each show. The artists make the puppets individually for about a month and then come together in regularly meetings for another month.

Puppeteer Joey Jacobson inside one of the show's sets. Photo courtesy of Geppetto's Junkyard Show.

Puppeteer Joey Jacobson inside one of the show’s sets. Photo courtesy of Geppetto’s Junkyard Show.

“It’s a whole bunch of work,” Knight-Kennedy said. “It’s just, it’s so much fun. And it’s so satisfying creatively. And you can go anywhere, you can go anywhere, you can say anything. You can say anything you want and get away with it. So you can take a show anywhere from pure fun and silliness to having a little something to say.”

In this show, there won’t be any marionettes or puppets on strings. There will be some shadow puppets and half life-size puppets. And there will be sets out at sea.

“There’s a little fishing boat that’s about three or four feet long,” Kennedy said. “The whale is an elaborate set that’s seven or eight feet tall and eight feet wide. There’s a set that has a boat in it in and rolling waves, it measures about eight feet long. So we really love doing the sets.”

The puppeteer troupe is excited to visit Petersburg. The group doesn’t do much traveling besides nearby Skagway because of the cost of moving a dozen people and their sets. They won’t be in Petersburg long however. They arrive on the Friday ferry and leave on Sunday. But they encourage people to come and say hello.

“Right after the show, we’re always ready to hang out and talk to people,” Knight-Kennedy said. “We invite people to come out and look at the puppets and kids and all that are welcome to come up and check out the puppets.”

The Geppetto’s Junkyard Show has been together for about ten years. They create and perform a new show twice a year.

“Travels in the Belly of a Whale” will be performed at the Wright Auditorium Saturday at 1 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. Then Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. The show is being sponsored by the Mitkof Mummers.