A close up on a puppet's eyes
The Unlikely Birth of Istvan | Photo: Courtesy of The Old Trout Puppet Workshop

The Unlikely Birth of Istvan

The Old Trouts go back to where it all began

Amy Jo Espetveidt

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Back in the winter of 1999, a ragtag gaggle of peculiar people gathered on a ranch in southern Alberta to create a metaphysical show for adults explaining birth, death, and everything in between.

Specially remounted for the Festival of Animated Objects, The Old Trout Puppet Workshop goes back to the beginning with the show that started it all, The Unlikely Birth of Istvan.

The show—described as a metaphysical Punch and Judy for adults—distills the fundamental truths of the cosmos into a concise theorem from the perspective of puppets. It premiered in the old bunkhouse to an audience of bewildered cowboys and Hutterites (legend has it the Hutterites were more impressed than the cowboys) and the rest is history. The Old Trouts have received worldwide acclaim since and this remount offers Calgarians a rare chance to go back to the beginning.

An underground puppet production for adults, The Unlikely Birth of Istvan is a fantastical and absurdist visual poem about the essence of being human.

The Unlikely Birth of Istvan runs March 15 to 26, 2017 at the DJD Dance Centre (111 12th Ave. SE) and is part of the Festival of Animated Objects running March 16 to 19, 2017. The show contains puppet nudity and is recommended for ages 18 and up. A limited number of pay-what-you-can tickets will be available at the door for a March 15 preview performance.