The Dreamland Theater’s 24-hour puppet show begins Thursday at noon

As no one died last year, it looks as though the folks at Ypsilanti’s Dreamland Theater will again be attempting a 24-hour puppet show in honor of the coming new year. (Footage from last year’s event can be found here.) Fortunately for you, I was able to track down the elusive puppeteer Patrick Elkins and interrupt his intense training regimen to ask the following questions.

MARK: So, is there anything you can tell us about the upcoming show?

n195386501861_7881PATRICK: Yes, there is. I can tell you, with some degree of certainty, that this year’s performance will be a sequel to last year’s puppet show. If you recall, at noon on January 1 of 2009, Slipley Wondersocks used the magic comb to bend the space-time continuum and travel back in time to noon on December 31, 2008. This year’s show takes place one year later, when Slipley is finally diagnosed with narcolepsy (and as a result thereof, cataplexy), a common side effect of magic comb usage. As Slipley finds herself falling asleep at incredibly inappropriate times (at the apex of her singer-songwriter career, while skydiving / shoplifting / swimming / getting mugged, etc.), each of her dreams will be a different puppet show from the year 2009. For example, some of the highlights from the first twelve hours of this year’s event include “The Very Wishy-Washy Caterpillar Meets the Most Incredibly Irresponsible Piece of Cake in the World” at 1:00 p.m.; “The Continuing & Ongoing Adventures of Susie, the Time-Traveling Slug” on or near 2:00 p.m.; “The Frog Prince”, a mad-lib-style puppet show based on the classic fairy tale, at 4:00 p.m.; a dream sequence performed by Tom Carey at 4:30 p.m.; “Trash Mountain”, an edible puppet show created for the Edible Art Show in Detroit, at 5:00 p.m.; “Patrick’s Weird Beard Goes Wandering” at 6:00 p.m.; “The Last Supper of 2009” at 7:00 p.m.; “The History of Ypsilanti” puppet show at 8:00 p.m.; a cat party at 10:00 p.m.; and “Cicadas on Drugs” by Craig Johnson at 10:30 p.m.

I can also tell you that the show costs $2 for admission (which works out to less than 9 cents / hour of entertainment) and audience members may come and go as they please (anyone who stays for the entire 24 hours will have their $2 refunded in full). There will be toast at midnight.

MARK: How about Puppet Mark – will he be there?


MARK: And what will Puppet Mark be doing?

PATRICK: Puppet Mark will be reviving his role in the “History of Ypsilanti” show as well as making some other appearances, the details of which I’m not at liberty to disclose at this time.

MARK: Will the part of the comb be played by the same comb?

PATRICK: After last year’s show, the magic comb went missing. At some point, around six months ago, I found it – but now it seems to have gone missing again, so unless we can locate it in the next 23 1/2 hours, the part of the magic comb will be played by an understudy.

MARK: How many people does it take to pull off a 24 hour puppet show anyway?

PATRICK: Naia & myself will be at the show for the entire 24 hours. Andrew Bruce Mitchell III will be helping with many of the scenes during the day and The Man of 1,000 Names will be assisting with the show later in the evening. We have 10 additional volunteers who will be helping out during various times.

MARK: Will there be nudity?

PATRICK: There will be karaoke, which is, more or less, the same thing.

MARK: Will there be explosions?


MARK: What happens at midnight? Wasn’t there a demon party last year when the clock struck 12?

PATRICK: There was, indeed, a demon party last year. I can tell you that there will be a cat party before midnight, but I’m not at liberty to divulge what will happen at midnight.

MARK: How do you go about training for something like this?

PATRICK: The short answer is lots of weird drugs, champagne and cheese. To get warmed up for this year’s show, I did a couple performances this past weekend. On Saturday night, my friend Trevor and I hosted a “cellular critical mass” at the Gallery Project where everyone who attended made amoeba costumes and paraded around downtown Ann Arbor. On Sunday afternoon, the Dreamland Puppet Troupe performed the “History of Ypsilanti” show, then, later that night, Naia & I did two performances of a new edible puppet show entitled “Trash Mountain” at the Edible Art Show in Detroit. Since then, we’ve been working on stuff for the 24-hour show.

MARK: Do you sleep at all during the course of the performance?

PATRICK: Last year, Naia slept for a while in the evening & early morning and I fell asleep from 3 – 6:00 a.m. When I woke up, I was lying face-down on the stage behind the curtain.

MARK: What happens at 4:30 in the morning, when there’s no one in the audience? How do we know that you’re really puppetry going on?

PATRICK: With any luck, we’ll find someone willing to attend for all 24 hours. Otherwise, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

MARK: I just remembered that DejaVu is open until 4:00 AM on New Year’s Eve, so I’m sure the Dreamland, which is right across the street, will be hopping at 4:30.

PATRICK: Possibly.

MARK: Will there be puppet pole dancing?

PATRICK: Probably.

MARK: How about puppet poll taxing?

PATRICK: Definitely.

I’d like to go on and say more, but I’ve just built a roaring fire, and I’m anxious to sit down in front of it with a bowl of popcorn and listen to Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy reruns. I hope you’ll understand.

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    Posted January 23, 2010 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Hi there, my mom let me know about your website a few days ago. And now I’ve left home. I’m heading toe Yposiland to make you by fathers.

  2. Dr Jrozxievk
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    hi to all I’m
    I would like to offer my schwantz
    to the young ladies of Ypsilanti

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  3. Roxanne Zucha
    Posted January 1, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    New Years Eve just wasn’t the same without the 24 hour puppet show. I hope they bring it back next year.

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