Enjoy a morning of family-friendly fun at with the GoodLife Theater. Husband and wife team Jeanne Wall and Joe Pipik have been combining puppetry and other dramatic arts to entertain children in the Washington metropolitan area for more than 35 years. Pipik will be performing solo tomorrow morning at the park's amphitheater as part of the Arts in the Parks summer concert series.
Learn more about tomorrow's performance in this Q&A with Pipik.
What can the audience expect from your Saturday morning performance?
More fun than a barrel of monkeys! Expect puppets, live music, audience participation, dinosaurs and laughter. I start with a couple songs. The first song I wrote with Michele Valerie of Dinorock for the CD The Great Dinosaur Mystery (available at Amazon). It is called "Dinosaurs Forever.” The second song is a movement chant about the five senses. We quickly review a little dino-science and see some fossils of dinosaur teeth.
Then I put on my BackPack stage, and the puppet show begins. It is the story of a puppet who has to learn how to see, hear taste, touch and smell. After getting the five senses, the character wants to meet real live dinosaurs so a kindly wizard sends it back in time to the Mesozoic era. There it meets two plant eaters and a meat eater. With the help of the children, we all get home safely.
Tell us a little bit about “The Fabulous Five Senses.” How did you come up with the idea for this performance?
This show was originally created after a residency in a kindergarten where they were working on the five senses. The children suggested the animals that correspond to each of the organs of sense (eagle = eyes, elephant = ears, etc.) which led to the creation of the chant I do with everyone before the show. The show evolved from that, and my experience touring with Dinorock for five years and seeing firsthand how much children love dinosaurs.
What sets the GoodLife Theater apart from other children’s entertainers in the area?
The GoodLife Theater is Joe Pipik and Jeanne Wall. We each bring more than 35 years of performing experience to our shows. That kind of experience leads to a relaxed but reliable show. Besides puppets, the GoodLife Theater offers a variety of shows including "Lula's Let's Make a Circus," Jeanne's solo interactive circus show featuring juggling, magic, music and unicycling. Some of our shows are mostly music featuring guitar, mandolin and hand drums. We can even customize a show to meet a client's individual needs as we do with our holiday offerings.
When did you found the GoodLife Theater with Jeanne? What is it like to perform with your spouse?
The Goodlife Theater was founded in 1994. Our first production together was "Tanka Tales" (Native American stories told with puppets) which we built for a series of shows in Fairfax County Parks. We still do that show mostly in schools as an assembly program although it has been seen in theaters, libraries and other locations.
Performing with Jeanne is great. She is very professional and brings a different sensibility to the shows we perform together. We each perform several shows solo as well as some together. This is mostly for financial reasons and because I can't ride a unicycle or do some of the things she does. "The Fabulous Five Senses" is one of my solo shows.
How do you come up with new material to stay current with each generation of youngsters?
Because we do so much with puppets, we tend to attract a lot of young children. Young children are pretty much the same as we were as children: eager and fun-loving. Our newest shows, “Little Red Rocket Hood” and “The Recycling Pirates,” tackle old material in new ways.
What do you love most about performing children’s theater?
Without a doubt, what I love most about children's theater is the children themselves. They make it all worthwhile and never cease to amaze me with their wit and observations. I feel very blessed to have made a profession as a puppeteer and work with these little wonders.
For last minute performance cancellations due to inclement weather, call 703-324-SHOW (7469) one hour prior to the program start time.
Click here for more information on the GoodLife Theater.
Saturday, Aug. 6, 10 a.m.; Free
6621 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA; (703) 324-SHOW