Holmdel, NJ  – The non-profit German Language Schools (www.njlearnsgerman.org) will co-host the only New Jersey performances of international, award-winning puppeteer Uwe Spillmann, who brings his original fairy tales from his native town of Eberholzen, Germany to New Jersey, during his 2016 national US tour. 

Three performances in English and German are scheduled at each School’s location as follows:

  • Thursday, November 3, 2016, 5:00-6:00 pm:  Holmdel at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 112 Middletown Road Holmdel 
  • Saturday, November 5, 11:00 am in Morristown at Morristown Beard School, 70 Whippany Road Morristown, NJ 
  • Saturday, November 5, 2016, 3:30 to 4:30 pm Princeton:  The Princeton United Methodist Church 7 Vanderventer Ave Princeton NJ 08542 

All performances are free and open to the public. Donations to support the schools are greatly appreciated.

“Uwe’s visit in 2014 was a hit with all our students and we’re thrilled we can bring him to three locations in New Jersey this fall,” says Principal Michaela Greco. “Our schools not only teach a language but bring unique cultural events for the community to enjoy, and his performances engage children of all ages and don’t require any German language knowledge.”

Traditional Characters Tell Modern Tales

Mr. Spillmann, known as “Der Kiepenkasper” writes original fairy tales and creates his own puppets including the traditional fun-loving Kasperle, funny pirate and bad witch that delight and enchant children. In Spillman’s theater, the children participate by waking up the puppets from their wicker basket (Kiepenkaste) to start the show. Mr. Spillman sounds the start of the story with his small wooden clarinet. In the story of “The Three Feathers,” Kasper needs the children to help him “undo” the magic tricks he learned from a witch. In his “Trip to Pirate Island,” he outwits a silly pirate who steals his gong. Spillman notes that in his experience all children, even those without any German knowledge, understand the plays and participate as the stories unfold.

According to childhood development experts puppets help children express themselves, work out their fears and worries and deal with difficult situations through the carefree world of make-believe and role-playing skits.  Each performance ends with a meet and greet with Mr. Spillman and his friends.

Puppetry a Theater Tradition Since Medieval Times

Long before the characters from the Muppets, there were puppets that performed slapstick comedy.  Kasper - from ancient Persian - means “keeper of the treasure,” dates to the beginning of Christianity and is believed to have been named after Casper, one of the three Magi who visited the Christ Child.  The character also appeared in early mystery plays of the medieval Church.

Kasperltheater emerged in the 1700s and soon became synonymous with puppet theaters throughout southern Germany and Austria that featured Kasper, his friends Gretel and Seppel, and a varied cast of characters that usually include grandma, king, princess, witch, devil, robber, policeman, wizard and crocodile.    A more child-like version of Kasper appeared in Munich in 1858 to tell stories of good and evil and to beat the evil devil, witch and crocodile. 

Contact www.njlearnsgerman.org to learn about the year-round activities, events and enrichment classes available to children and adults throughout New Jersey. 

 About the German Language Schools

The German Language School of Morris County, Inc. & The German Language Schools in Holmdel, Rumson and Princeton admit students of any race, color, religion, creed, gender and national or ethnic origin.  The schools are members of the German Language School Conference (GLSC) and American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) The German School of Morris County is located on the campus of the Morristown Beard School, 70 Whippany Road in Morristown, NJ. The German Language School holds classes in Holmdel, Rumson and Princeton.  For more information go to www.njlearnsgerman.org.  Please “like” and share us on Face book, follow us on Twitter and find videos on YouTube.