Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.

A bilingual puppet show is coming to Tucson Mall

“The Barking Mouse” and “The Blue Frog” are part of Red Herring Puppets’ first bilingual production.

Leer en español

Soon after opening her theater at the Tucson Mall in 2019, Lisa Sturz realized that a big segment of her Red Herring Puppets audience was Hispanic, many of whom don’t speak English.

Now Sturz is putting on her first ever bilingual puppet show on Saturday, Aug. 20. “We are trying to fill that need,” she said.

Red Herring Puppets, the 34-year-old troupe that Sturz relocated to Tucson from Asheville, North Carolina, teamed up with bilingual puppeteer Maria Hays for “The Barking Mouse” and “The Blue Frog” (“El Ratón que Ladra,” “La Rana Azul”).

“When Lisa came to me about this idea — it was at least a year ago — we got together and put together the script and translated it,” Hays said.

“The Barking Mouse,” a 10-minute piece, is based on the Cuban folk tale of a family of mice on a picnic who encounter a cat when the kids go off to explore in the field. When the cat chases the kids back to their parents, their mom shields them and then barks at the cat, scaring it off.

As the cat flees, mom tells the kids, “See how important it is to speak another language.”

“The Blue Frog,” a 30-minute performance, takes its cue from the Mayan version of the legend of chocolate. A winged-serpent God, Kukulcán, defies his jaguar brother when he shares the divine chocolate with humankind. Kukulcán transforms himself into a blue frog and teaches the people how to harvest cacoa, which had always been reserved for the elite and the gods.

Sturz, who has been a professional puppeteer for 50 years and has worked with Jim Henson Productions, Walt Disney Imagineering, the Ice Capades and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, also teamed up with the Tucson all-female mariachi Las Azaleas‘ Diana Olivares and Salma Diaz to compose songs for the plays.

It is Sturz’s second collaboration with Las Azaleas. At last year’s All Souls Procession, Sturz created at 10-foot-tall La Calavera Catrina puppet that was featured in the finale as Las Azaleas performed.

Sturz said she is creating a smaller version of the puppet that will introduce each story.

Red Herring Puppets will perform “The Barking Mouse” and “The Blue Frog” at 2 p.m. Aug. 20 and 27, and on Sept. 3 and 10, at the theater on the second floor of Tucson Mall near Macy’s, 4500 N. Oracle Road. Tickets are $8 through Details: 520-635-6535.

Next year, Red Herring Puppets will present another bilingual performance: “The Woman Who Outshone the Sun” (“La Mujer Que Brillaba Aun Mas Que El Sol”) and a child-friendly version of the popular Mexican and Puerto Rican legend “The Chupacabra” (goat-sucker).

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at On Twitter @Starburch

Subscribe to stay connected to Tucson. A subscription helps you access more of the local stories that keep you connected to the community.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News