It all started with a trip around the world. At the age of 20, French puppeteer Philippe Genty and a group of friends took an old French car around the globe. Genty left France with little to fear and a sense of adventure.

As they traveled by road and boat the friends grew short of money. Since they were making a movie on puppet shows in various parts of the world it made sense to start a show of their own. Genty, looking back, says of the experience, "During that trip we improved a very sloppy show; it was really a fantastic way to learn and discover techniques."

In 1967 Compagnie Philippe Genty was formed in Paris. Genty, 43, heads the company that produces revue-style puppet performances. The production includes varying vignettes, everything from an ostrich ballet to a dramatic solo of a marionette named Pierrot. Of the puppets Genty says, "Every movement must count because it is by means of movement that the marionettes express themselves." Genty adds, "These puppets do not always act as we want them to."

Genty's two-hour show provides images narrated by music. There is no text. Genty belives that the music must symbolize the idea expressed, so many of the scores are original.

Compagnie Philippe Genty makes all of its puppets, stage sets and props in a workshop in Paris. The company has performed all over the world. Philippe Genty should not be missed.

At the Reston Community Center, Oct. 11, 12, 13 and 15, 2310 Colts Neck Rd., Reston. For more information call, 476-4500.

Other Events:

* October is Fairfax Symphony month. It begins Sunday with a performance at the Kennedy Center. For more information call, 821-8118.

* George Mason University will host a month-long celebration of the arts, beginning Oct. 14. For more information call, 323-2138.

* Arlington County will hold a 10K run/2-mile walk Sunday to benefit Arlington Arts. Prizes will be awarded. For more information call, 558-2161.

* Gallery 4 exhibits, "Forest Interiors," paintings by John Morrell. Through Oct. 29. For more information call, 548-4600.