Puppets Galore!


Hello again from Elliot Lake! It’s Director Liz Kanski giving you the latest on our shows being presented by Elliot Lake’s Roundabout Exceptional Puppeteers. It’s just about show time, as we practice to get everything just right to perform on the big stage. This year, we will be performing each 50 minute show with an intermission in between, at the Civic Center. We would like to invite all out-of-towners, as well as Elliot Lake and area to come and join us.

20170330_143028We will be performing The Circle of Life and The Good, The Bad and the Time Lord. Our first performance is a matinee, designed for out of town people on, Sunday, April 30th, at 2 pm. Therefore, you can have a beautiful drive to Elliot Lake and get home before dark. During Education Week, we will performing our shows for all the schools, Tuesday, May 2nd at 9:30 am. Usually we go to all the schools and senior centers in and around the community, but this year both our shows are too big to travel with. We will finish with another public performance at 7 pm. that same night. It will be exhausting, but better than the 19 shows we performed last year!

Just to recap what our plays and our group is all about. Our performers are all, mentally or physically handicapped and sing, dance and act with puppets to written material that we come up with our selves. We record the music and stories for the group to perform to.

The Circle of Life, is all about The Lion King, done with Life size animal puppets that will be entering the stage from the aisles through the audience and then going up on stage. A crocodile, wilde beast, antelopes, a huge pink flamingo and others birds, a gigantic giraffe, leopard and prancing zebra will enter the scene for the christening of the baby lion, Simba, on Pride Rock. Each puppet is individually made to be worn by each member of the cast and their costumes depict original African Batik designs. They all perform the opening number The Circle of Life similar to the Broadway Lion King musical.

Cirle of life cast




Pink FlamingoTasha Crocodile





The next number has a life size puppet of Pocahontas singing, The Colours of the Wind to a back lit presentation of wild life images.


Cast members then come out, led by CJ on guitar and Alice as lead vocal and sing songs from Australia, describing their unique animals and their aboriginal instrument the didgeridoo (which some in my cast try to play). Audience participation is always required.




The next song has Pumbaa and Timon hamming up the song Stand By Me.


Followed by a Circus Act, all about Dr. Dolittle and his Push-Me-Pull-You, in You’ve Never seen anything Like It! If you thought the life-size animals in the first part were hard to make… the Push-Me Pull-You, two headed Lama, was a nightmare!




The final story is about Dr. Dolittle and the Moving Island.

Dolittle and Jane


The Doctor and his niece Jane, get shipwrecked on a moving Island and you guessed it, they meet Tarzan,


talk to the animals, cure their colds and save the gorillas, not to mention reuniting Pumbaa, Timon and all the stranded animals on the Island with Simba, the now adult Lion King.



The Island is reunited off the coast of Africa to the mainland by a helpful whale, so that is how we come full Circle, ending with everyone singing the song Hakuna Mattata.

The Good , The Bad and the Time Lord, is all about the Iconic Tenth Doctor Who (David Tennant), traveling through time in his Tardis, beginning in the Old West.


Mitchell boys20170321_182447

Ian Western


There, he helps John Wayne and Clint Eastwood destroy a strange robot named, Yul Brenner (Westworld) and his War Wagon full of gold.



Dalek Heather

Next the Doctor lands on the Star Ship Enterprise and helps Captain Kirk and crew defeat the Daleks.






After that, Dr. Who appears in the Museum of Natural History, where he meets Maleficent and her daughter Mal (from Disney’s Descendants) and helps King Arthur and Lancelot defeat Maleficent, as a dragon, who is guarding a frozen Merlin (a former Time Lord).






The Doctor then convinces Mal to become his new companion and they go to Egypt and meet Indiana Jones to solve the mystery of Cleopatra’s necklace.

Robin Hood and Little John




Cyberman Heather2

Finally, they travel to the time of Robin Hood and help and him and his merry men, defeat the Cybermen, who are controlling King John.





At last the Doctor asks Mal where she would like to go next. Mal (still dressed as Maid Marion ) has a crush on Robin Hood, who all of a sudden knocks on the outside of the Tardis doors. Then all craziness ensues as the Tardis is boarded by people from all the time periods they had just travelled to, as well as, Doctor Who 4 (long Scarf) and Dr. Who 12 who also end up on the Tardis. When all are on board they end up with Maleficent in the Museum of Natural History, and that is where the story ends. All are frozen as wax sculptures and a cleaning lady comes out at to dust all the statues.

I have to say of the 2 shows the Dalek was one of the hardest things to make. Our one white screen on stage, allows us to do backgrounds easily with a projector (up graded from our old overhead machine) and still allows us the opportunity to do shadow plays for the special effects, lighting and mime. With our shows, the director is never done. Because at least 5 of our members are hearing impaired or deaf, I have to be out front giving visual cues, so that the cast can keep on track with acting and singing gestures. We are a unique group for sure!

We hope that you can come and see our shows for yourself. We will be performing at the Civic Center, right on highway 108, when you come into Elliot Lake. $15.00 a person and family of 3or more, $12.00 each. Come and be a part of the thrills, excitement and fun! I guarantee, You’ve Never Seen Anything Like this!

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The Good, The Bad, and The Time Lord


The Good, The Bad, and The Time Lord !



Arriving in the Future,…………



Posted in Challenged adults, Disabled Puppeteers, marionettes, Special Education, Theatre | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Shows Must Go on!

It’s that time of year again. The Elliot Lake’s Roundabout Exceptional Puppeteers are about to put on their performances again during the month of April 2016. This group is made up of Special Needs Children and Adults from ages 11-62 from the Elliot Lake Community. With the overwhelming response this year to get involved in the group, Liz Kanski, Director and teacher, had to split the group in two and worked on two different shows! Tuesday nights they will be performing “You’ve Gotta Have Heart” and Thursday nights is the show “To Dream the Impossible Dream”. The ELREP group will be performing every Tuesday and Thursday night during the month of April in the ELSS Drama Room 111, from 7-8 pm. Tickets are $5.00 and will be sold at the door. The shows cater to the whole family. After the April performances, they hope to tour the shows to the elementary schools and Seniors homes in the Elliot Lake and surrounding areas. Each show is full of singing, dancing, puppets, music and original stories.

Princess Cast
You’ve Gotta Have Heart”, is all about doing the best you can no matter the odds.

Gotta have Heart

It features marionette puppets for the first time, in You’ve Gotta have Heart with Rocket Raccoon and his Baseball Team (From Damned Yankees).

wooden HeartI Don’t Have a Wooden Heart, with Liz, CJ on Guitar and marionettes.

Alice singsSinging by Alice Dolby accompanied on guitar by our own CJ Holmes, who also wrote and played guitar music for both shows.

feel pretty BelleI feel Pretty, lyrics and sung by Liz with the princesses Belle- Brittany…


feel pretty cinderellaCinderella-Kristie…

feel pretty Elsa and AnnaElsa- Crystal and Anna-Dakota A.

Dakota AnnaAnna…Dakota C.

feel pretty ursulaUrsula the Sea Witch- Lynn.. and finishing with Black Beard- CJ and Ursula.

ursala and black beardAnother number has Ursula and Ariel in You Poor Unfortunate Souls and here are Flotsom and Jetsom…

moray eelsThe main story is called, “The Abduction of the 5 Princesses”, and of course has your favourite characters, Cinderella, Belle, Ariel and Elsa and Anna, who are abducted by Ursula the Sea Witch and Black Beard the pirate.

Pirates and PrincessesOf course with pirates you can’t forget Jack Sparrow, as the plucky comedy,

Dark Dragona giant sea serpent and

nemo and nautilusCaptain Nemo and the Nautilus to the rescue.

Princess CastThe cast includes: Natasha Kanski-Ariel, Kristie Pinard-Cinderella, Katie Wright (Sound), Crystal Drake Kawlaw-Elsa, Brittany Drake Kawlaw-Belle, Craig Holmes Jr. (CJ)-Blackbeard, Collin LaRush-Captain Nemo, Dakota Condon-Anna, Ashtin Trudeau (Stage Manager), Heather San Cartier-Flotsom, Alice Dolby-Jetsom, Melissa Bogensberger-Fairy Godmother, Denise Reidel- Jack Sparrow, Dakota Atherton-Anna, Lynn Ingram-Ursula, Cora Richer (Back stage), Liz Kanski (Director), Dave Lasalle (Lighting), Terri Bray and Tammy Atherton (Helpers). Dragon.

Battle CastTo Dream the Impossible Dream”, is all about being a hero and striving to reach that unreachable star. It starts out with life size puppets telling and singing the story from the Man of La Manche,

Man of La Mancheand then goes crazy with Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting dancing Super Heroes and a 20 foot long Dragon.

super heroesDark DragonThen, I need a Hero with Hercules battling the Hydra, a puppet built around Henry Lew’s wheel chair.


BandThe Back up Band.

Then there is a number with Darth Vader trying to “Make a Man out of a You”, who is attempting to train a bunch of aliens, including Groot and Chewbacca.

Make a Man out of you

The final story is called, “The Battle for Liea” and features all your favourite Stars Wars characters and creatures from the Cantina.

Battle Cast Again original music written by CJ Holmes is featured throughout. The show is full of dancing and music and lots of puppet tricks. The cast includes: Henry Lew-The Spy, Chris Mayberry-Luke, Ian Mitchell-Han, Brandon Drake Kawlaw-Darth Vader, Helen Butler-creature, Scotty PikeIron Man, Roddy Boisvenue-Game-Creature, Ashtin Trudeau (Stage Manager), Keanna Tremblay-Clover (Sound), Barry Hayward-4 armed bar keep, Natasha Kansk-Yodai, Angela Howells-Princess Liea, Collin LaRush, Dave Lasalle (Stage/Lighting/Sound), Leslee Mitchell (Helper), Travis Mitchell (Helper), Donna Chenier (Helper), Alexandria McKie (Helper) and Liz Kanski (Director).

PosterThere were many challenges this year with two big groups. A big thank you goes out to all our Local Sponsors. Without them none of our shows would be possible.

Thank You to All Our Generous Sponsors!

NWMO $2,500.00 Wow!
Bunraku $500.00
Rotary Club
Waltraud Hearn
Hand Puppet $350.00
Arnold Dentistry
Blacklight $250.00
Beta Sigma Fi
Tim Horton’s
Lion’s Club
Limberjack Puppet $100 & over
Judith Burns
Sights and Sounds
Melanie’s Liquidation
Brown & Fabris
Milltown Motors
Sirje Pomerlau
Belanger Veterinary
Roland Aube, LL.B
O.K. Tire
Broker Link
Algom Insurance Adjusters
Michelle’s Bakery

Thanks also to ELSS & Leonard Gillis and his Janitorial Staff.
Alex Kanski for his help and wisdom and all the caregivers and support workers who help our group work to their full potential.
Special thanks to C.J. Holmes for writing and performing his guitar music.

Poster for facebookThere were ideas that didn’t work and other changes to our stories,

20151205_173927ET the Extraterestrial…

20151208_190417ET was an idea that got too complicated & we wouldn’t have been able to travel with him.

20151228_114722Pocahontas was nice , but the girls couldn’t handle the size and weight.

We put in I Feel Pretty and a Funny James Bond piece, where Jack Sparrow is in search of the Sea Chest with the Golden Orb, only to be thwarted by Black Beard once he gets his hands on it.

After all the changes, the end products looks pretty amazing.

One member is deaf, but has the acting chops of a pro. With some help from Liz the group can even dance as a cohesive whole. Henry’s wheel chair is something we just work with and around, and if someone is away, others in the group are incredible understudies and step right up to the challenge, despite costume restraints. Liz never knows from one week to the next what she will be playing or what will happen, but that’s theatre and everyone is having a blast! The audience will have a blast too, because this group is full of energy, compassion and they try the best they can all the time. We have Heart and we Dream the Impossible Dream. Come out to see our 8 shows, Tuesdays and Thursdays in April, 2016, in the ELSS Drama Room.

Posted in Deaf and Mute, Disabled Puppeteers, marionettes, Puppets, Wheel Chair actor and puppets | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment