Puppets march forth in protest
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Among the throngs of upset students, concerned faculty and token, stick-and-board protestors expected at the March 4 statewide walkout, don't be surprised to see a skeleton, Dracula or a dead SF State student rapping about budget woes.

The theatre arts department has built four giant puppets in preparation for the March 4 "call to action" and will use them as players in a short play of protest.

Entitled "Endangered Species (for endangered education)," the papier-måché puppets are a product of Carlos Baron's multicultural production workshop. Baron has been a professor of theater arts since 1988 and was a professor of ethnic studies for ten years before that.

"We're trying to use theatrical devices to capture people's attention and broadcast our message," said Kevin Scofield while putting finishing touches on La Llorona-- "The Crying Woman," in Spanish.

La Llorona is a Spanish colonial legend of a woman who drowned her children and is used to scare children who misbehave. "Weeping that her classes are drowning," said Monica Moffitt, a communication studies grad student. "And the skeleton has a graduation hat on him but he died before he could pay off his student loans."

The Dracula puppet is titled "Draculator"-- a combination of Dracula and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The puppet hands will be holding bundles of fake cash, "sucked from the blood of students," Baron said.

The puppets were designed by artist Colette Crutcher, whose work Baron had seen at a Day of the Dead performance at the San Francisco Symphony. Enjoying her work, Baron asked Crutcher to assist in this project, which has taken roughly three weeks to complete.

"I actually made a new year's resolution to use papier-måché for political activism, and here comes this wonderful opportunity," said Crutcher.

In addition to the puppets themselves, "Endangered Species" is a short play where the puppets rap over budget woes, class cancellations, rich bureaucrats and starving students. Baron hopes to perform on a flatbed truck and roll it down to 24th & Mission and then on to Civic Center, performing the play at all stops.

"It might be a little more complicated than it needs be, frankly," said Baron before leading a rehearsal of the play, sans giant puppets. "But considering everything that's going on that day, we just might fit in."

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PHOTO
Amanda Marmor | staff photographer
Monica Moffitt, graduate student, left adds finishing touches to a puppet that represents a student who dies before paying off student loans.

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