All Strings Attached 

German puppeteer Matthias Kuchta isn't the sort of children's-theater performer you'd find in a box, with his hand inside a talking sock. Instead, he maneuvers life-size likenesses of the heroine and her seven dwarves in today's two performances of the Brothers Grimm classic Snow White. "The young Snow White is confronted by the stepmother, who doesn't want to give in to a young adult starting to develop her own identity," says Kuchta. "It's about the power of a girl realizing her maturity." A former schoolteacher, Kuchta ditched his classroom gig for a theatrical career 15 years ago. After he saw an outdoor stage show of large puppets playing checkers, Kuchta teamed with fellow German artist Mechtild Nienaber to create fairy-tale characters who resemble his family, neighbors, and former co-workers. As he manipulates the puppets onstage, he often sprinkles child psychology into the dialogue. "It's very important to me to teach parents how to love their kids, and for kids to believe in themselves and their own potential as people," says Kuchta. "I believe parents have to say, 'I love you' and 'You're wonderful' to their children to encourage them to develop." The curtain goes up at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. today at the Westfield Insurance Studio Theatre, 1501 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $10 and $19.50. Call 216-241-6000 or visit www.playhousesquare.com.
Sat., Feb. 16, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m., 2008

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