Yesterday was our first chance to meet the puppets at the L'viv Regional Puppet Theater. It was no Muppet Show, but where else, for 80 cents per ticket, can you find dancing mushroom puppets? Definitely the highlight, particularly enjoyed by Carter, who said as the mushrooms left the stage: "mushrooms will come back." Sorry Carter, they did not return (as they were picked to be devoured later by a squirrel), but there were many animal puppets.
We started our morning with a visit to the L'viv National Museum, which had a great collection of icons and some nice, realistic pastoral 19th century scenes. Erik's favorite was the image of the couple dragging the drunk home on a sled through a beautiful rural snowy scene, appropriately entitled: "Dragging the Drunk." After the usual admonitions by staff about Carter sucking his thumb and not wearing enough clothes (he had on long sleeves, long pants and long underwear, and was inside without his coat since we were, as expected, told to leave our coats in the coat room) we finished gazing at all of the exhibitions and moved on. After some souvenir shopping, we headed on to the puppet theater.
We arrived at the theater about 20 minutes before the noon production and got 5th row tickets. We went inside in search of the coat room. It was downstairs, where kids were purchasing and eating pre-packaged chips, cookies and juice boxes from the bar. The bar also had a full liquor selection and sold cigarettes. Seemingly an odd selection for a puppet theater, we decided that the basement area must double as a club or bar (or at least hoped that was true). After a break for Carter to eat healthy snacks we brought along for him (raisins and peanuts), we went off to find our seats.
The theater was old, small, and smelled like a marshrutka on a hot summer afternoon. It was packed with kids feasting on candy, alongside their parents and grandparents. The seats, when folded up, were sort of booster seats so that small kids could see the stage. This is the only place we have found where you buy tickets for kids.
Then the production started. As best we could figure out, it was a story about a cat and dog whose parents fought, but they fell in love. They ran off to the woods, where a dangerous wolf and dancing mushrooms lived. A forest fire broke out and the parents thought their children were gone, but an animal (that we think was a squirrel) put out the fire. The squirrel, along with some ducks, helped them back to their families, who were happy to see them. Erik understood a little bit more than this, but it was probably more interesting if you did not speak Ukrainian than it was in reality.
Carter inexplicably loved it and wants to see more puppet shows. The Puppet Theater is a great activity for the cold days ahead.