The Washington Post

‘Baby Universe,’ a puppet fable about civilization’s rebirth

(L-R) Kirjan Waage and Gwendolyn Warnock pose with puppet "Baby Universe" in Wakka Wakka Productions "Baby Universe" at Studio Theatre in Washington, DC on June 25, 2013. It's an eco-fable revolving around mother earth and stars wise-cracking puppets with no pretense of hiding costumed puppeteers. (Linda Davidson/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Kirjan Waage and Gwendolyn Warnock, the co-writers and co-directors of “Baby Universe” at Studio Theatre, are wearing what look like grey onesies and gas masks.

“The face is really interesting to watch,” Warnock explained. And given the tremendous effort that Waage put into constructing the 30 puppets that populate their show, the two puppeteers didn’t want their faces “to compete with the puppets.”

Hence the gas masks.

“Baby Universe,” Wakka Wakka Productions’ latest show, takes place in the (hopefully) distant future. The sun is about to die, taking Earth to the grave with it; scientists are trying to build baby universes that, ideally, will be able to produce a life-supporting planet and save all of humanity.

“It’s a creation story,” Waage said. “Our culture and history is ripe with creation stories. And this is also a superhero story.”

“And a story about the end of the world!” Warnock cut in.

“Apocalypse stories are everywhere,” Waage said. “They’ve been with us since the beginning of humanity.” The two described how they were inspired by sci-fi and B-movies, and the production is packed with winking references to pop culture — “little goodies,” Waage said, for diehard sci-fi fans.

The puppets, he added, are made of lycra, “same as bikinis and figure-skating costumes.”

Through July 14 at Studio Theatre, 1501 14th Street NW,, 202-332-3300



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