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Playwright’s Notes: Amaranta Leyva on her whimsical and enchanting puppet show, “Sleeping Beauty Dreams”

Award-winning playwright Amaranta Leyva shares with us the genesis of her whimsical and enchanting puppet show, Sleeping Beauty Dreams.

Photo by Mariana-Zappet.

For me, as a writer, Sleeping Beauty Dreams is the exorcism of my fears as a new mom. One morning, after my daughter was born, I found myself full of fears. What was I to do with all of these fears if they didn’t let me breathe? Was it possible to get rid of them and still be able to protect my new little pink and defenceless bundle of love—my daughter?

Those days I was looking for a perfect fairy tale for my daughter. Suddenly, there appeared this story where adults were completely dedicated to determine the life of another little bundle of love, just like mine. Oh, oh…

That situation seemed too familiar to me.

In trying to find the best, the safest, the greatest life for my bundle of love, I had forgotten to think about her. What did she like to play, to watch, to eat, to do…? What made her laugh?

Sometimes, we adults want to anticipate, protect, and organize our children’s lives. And we forget the most important thing: our own children!

Photo by Emily Cooper.

That’s what happened to Aurora—the princess spent her life sleeping because adults couldn’t get along… at a party!

I do not want my daughter to spend her life asleep because of my fears, fears that could one day turn into curses. I prefer to face them and welcome life every morning hand-in-hand with my daughter. It’s not an easy task. Luckily, I have my big, growing bundle-of-love to remind me more than once, curses are just in my imagination.

Luckily too, I have friends like Presentation House Theatre who jumped in with me in this exorcism to make it endearing and enjoyable. I really believe these are the best ingredients against fear.Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 10.17.41 AM

Presentation House Theatre presents Sleeping Beauty Dreams on January 26–February 4 at Presentation House Theatre, February 9 at Evergreen Cultural Centre [get your tickets here], and at Main Stage at Surrey Arts Centre on February 10 [get your tickets here].

Originally commissioned by Washington DC’s Kennedy Center, Sleeping Beauty Dreams has toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe. The work is directed by 72-year-old Lourdes Pérez Gay, revered in Mexico for her puppet creations, and features music by renowned composer Simon Bellefleur. Sleeping Beauty Dreams showcases Timothy Gosley, one of Canada’s most renowned puppeteers. Gosley, who worked with Jim Henson on Fraggle Rock and whose puppetry has been featured extensively in film and television, is returning to the theatre specifically for the opportunity to work with Lourdes Pérez Gay. The local ensemble cast also includes actor and puppeteer Randi Edmundson; Jessie Award-winning actor and playwright Linda Carson; actor and improviser Brent Hirose; and multi-talented actor, set-designer, and Studio 58 graduate Shizuka Kai.

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Amaranta Leyva is puppeteer and playwright who uses puppet theatre as a means of expression in developing works for children audiences. She is a leading children’s theatre playwright in Mexico and her work has been toured internationally. Sleeping Beauty Dreams is her most recent play. Leyva has been a member of Marionetas de la Esquina since 1989.