WHO IS GUIGNOL? The beloved Guignol puppet of Lyon, France was born in puppet plays featuring Polichinelle, the French version of the Commedia Dell’Arte’s low-brow character, Pulchinello. The Guignol puppet was added in 1808 by a dentist of Lyon, France who had begun performing the puppet plays to allay the fears of patients. In England, Pulchinello became Punch of the Punch & Judy show, who is also featured in our show.This GRAND GUIGNOL CHILDREN’S SHOW NOT FOR CHILDREN presents classic folk tales in their darkest forms: Little Red Riding Hood: a Horror Play, Hansel and Gretel: a Horror Play, The Ugly Duckling: a Melodrama Ballet, and Rapunzel: an Erotic Thriller by French finger puppets.  We also offer a pre-show absinthe presentation and tasting.  Masks, birthday cake, over the top dance numbers, puppets, and a lot of blood.  And a little boob. The show is not appropriate for children.

WHAT IS GRAND GUIGNOL? The Théâtre du Grand Guignol in Paris (1897-1962) achieved a legendary reputation for explicit violence, blood-curdling terror, so that a resident doctor was needed onsite to treat fainting spectators. A performance at the Grand Guignol strove to terrify and titillate the spectator through a mixture of horror, laughter and the erotic. A typical evening’s entertainment exploited the contemporary audience’s fears, taboos and desires.  The name Grand Guignol is a play on the “big puppet” show, both in size and for ‘big people.’  Known as an “evening of hot and cold showers” the performance alternated farce and horror plays.
BACKGROUND FOLK TALES: The origin of folk tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel varies greatly, as they were passed down orally. There is no single original version, source nor meaning of these stories, rather they vary by culture and era.  In the late 17th Century, Charles Perrault, French courtier to Louis XIV, first published folk tales, sanitizing the darker bawdier oral versions, making them more palatable for his salon peers and adding his own moral messages. A century later, the Grimm Brothers collected and also published the folk tales for academic purposes, then later, seeing the marketing value, adapted them for children. Contemporary versions are often even less violent and less sexual. But certain essential elements remain the same among centuries and continents, making them a fascinating and powerful expression of the human psyche and an appropriate match for the Grand Guignol.

 Pre-sale tickets are HIGHLY recommended – or for more info go to:

WHERE:  Art/Works Theatre * 6569 Santa Monica Blvd. * Los Angeles, CA 90038.  
DATES: Dec. 5 – Jan. 10. 2009 Fri/Saturdays at 8:30 (except 12/26), with two Thur. (12/18 & 1/8)
and two Pay What You Can Sun. (12/28 & 1/4) at 7pm.* Pre-Show Absinthe Demo about 1/2 hour early *
* grown up drinks & absinthe *  SUGGESTED DRESS: Cocktail, Birthday Party and/or 1920s-30s.  
 TICKETS:  $20-30