Using puppetry in a play about a Japanese internment camp during WWII is one thing (and probably not a good thing). Liebe Wetzels Lunatique Fantastique, however, does puppetry without the puppets, at least not the puppets of your imagination, and this makes all the difference. The group has figured out a way, through hard work and innate genius, to transform common items into characters that act, emote, and tell a story. In E.O. 9066, those items are little more than a suitcase, a Japanese teaset, and some cloth, items that are directly relevant to the story: that of a Berkeley familys forced relocation to a camp in Topaz, Utah. In creating the work, the troupe interviewed families and researched the period, inspired by the puppeteer Donna Nomura Dobkin, whose own family counted among the incarcerated. For this return engagement (E.O. 9066 premiered in 2003), Wetzel brings a new score by composer Shinji Eshima of the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet orchestras.
Saturdays, 1 p.m. Starts: March 7. Continues through April 25, 2009