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Puppetry Museum Plans
Holiday Sale December 4
November 29, 1999

Tiny ballerinas and a life-size Marley from A Christmas Carol are among the puppets that will be on display at a holiday sale and exhibit at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry on Saturday, December 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The sale will include a large assortment of Folkmanis finger and hand puppets, marionettes, quilted items, Museum of Puppetry dolls, dream catchers and an assortment of food. Proceeds will support the museum.

Puppets from three different productions of A Christmas Carol - from enormous heads to hand puppets - will be on exhibit. Also, visitors will see puppets from Frank Ballard's production of Babes in Toyland, including Little Bo-Peep and the three sheep.

For the first time, there will be a display of the Sidney Chrysler miniature opera collection, which was donated to the museum in 1997. Three-inch-high, impeccably detailed puppets that once performed the Snowflake Ballet from the Nutcracker in Chrysler's home, will be shown.

Chrysler, who died in February, was from Chaplin. "He was an eccentric man who loved the arts and antiques," says Ballard, former head and founder of the Puppet Arts Program. From 1951 until 1990, Chrysler's hobby was producing full-length miniature operas. He had a three-foot-by-three-foot stage, a 92-piece orchestra and dozens of three-inch puppets made of pipe cleaners, elaborately costumed in crepe paper.

Most of the figures are moved by a single head string from above or by cardboard tabs running offstage to puppeteers in the wings. "It was much like toy theater," Ballard says.

To achieve certain effects necessary to the action of the opera, Chrysler endowed some of the tiny puppets with articulated bodies and limbs transforming them into miniature marionettes.

Chrysler used tiny lights to create moods, and "the effects he got were exquisite," Ballard says. "And as you came in he'd give you miniature opera glasses."

The museum is located at 6 Bourne Place at the Mansfield Depot Campus. For more information call (860)

Sherry Fisher