This year, for my birthday, I didn’t ask for gifts. I didn’t ask for money. I didn’t even ask for limitless power. The only thing I wanted was to take some time away from my hectic schedule and spend an entire day with my wife and kids. It almost happened too! Somehow I managed to get half of the day off from work, packed the family in the wagon, and made the trek north to beautiful Park City, Utah; home of the famous Sundance Film Festival.
You see, timing just happened to be in my favor; because on that day, there was to be an all ages puppet show at the Park City Library. McMazing tales was presenting their all new, “One World, Too Many Zombies!” Half of the day free? Family time? Zombies? Win. Win. Win. It doesn't get much better than that.
My family and I walked up the stairs to the auditorium just ahead of what I think was probably an entire elementary school field trip. My son wanted to stop and ‘read’ every poster he could see and I just knew we were gonna end up losing the good seats. Now, I say ‘read’ because he’s only three. He can read, amazingly, but only short words like mom and dad; dog and cat. He really just reads off each individual letter, which is ridiculously cute; but takes forever, and unfortunately the posters he was 'reading' were summer reading lists and event schedules which had severe shortages of simple words.
Long story short, we ended up losing the race to the good seats; which was okay, because the presenters designed the show with kids in mind. They had placed a little tape line at the front of the auditorium and the kids knew by instinct that it was okay to abandon all formality and sit as close as they could get to the display, so long as they didn’t cross the magic line. I ended up with a decent seat which gave me full visibility and access to both of my offspring (should the need for immediate evacuation arise.)
(Mostly behind the magic line)
Then entered Will, tall and slim wearing a 1980’s ‘Thriller’ t-shirt and wide smile; and Katie, no Michael Jackson t-shirt, but smiling just as wide. The show got started with a short introduction and ground rules. Then they established the sign for “This is too scary for me;” which was screaming in terror and waving your arms above your head while spinning in circles. Then, they engaged the children in a “make your own” monster song. They practiced it a few times until he was satisfied all of the kids had it down, and then the show started.
Didn't I tell you about the smile?
Within a minute and a half, my son had abandoned his baby sister, and was on my lap with his hands over his eyes. The first story told was an adaptation of “Hairy Toe,” an old American folktale where a couple goes out in the forest foraging for food where they come upon a massive hairy toe. There was some serious meat on the toe; so, they take it home and start to preparing a delicious toe soup. Soon there comes a booming knock at the door . . . Boom, Boom, BOOM! Followed by a giant voice chanting, “hairy toe. Hairy Toe. HAIRY TOE! I want my Hairy Toe!” The couple huddle in the corner of the display, behind the cooking pot when there’s a big crash and they both scream.
In walks a tiny, rainbow-colored puppet with a puff of purpleish hair on top. The puppets look at each other, and then the tiny monster asks if they’ve seen his hairy toe. One of the puppets jumps up and smacks the monster down below the curtain, and they go back to merrily singing over their pot of toe soup. The terror in the room was instantly transformed into dozens of tiny, excited laughs and my son found his way back to the general admission seats.
This was only the first of the stories all of which were cap-stoned by an original tale of a mad scientist desperately seeking fame and fortune by creating an amazing singing Zombie. As they are wont to do, the singing zombie decides the only thing he likes more than singing is eating the brains of the mad scientist who created him. You wanna know how good it was? After the show, my son came to me and said, “Dad, that was the best puppet show I’ve ever seened [sic].” No lie. There’s your stamp of approval.McMazing!
Check them out at mcmazingtales.com. There you’ll find even more videos and their upcoming tour schedule. Not all of their shows are horror themed, but Will told me they always try to sneak “at least a tale or two of ghosts or goblins no matter what show we do.”