Morristown & Holmdel, NJ – The non-profit German School of Morris County and German School of Monmouth County will co-host the only New Jersey performances of international, award-winning puppeteer Uwe Spillmann, who will bring his original fairy tales from his native town of Eberholzen, Germany to New Jersey, during his national US tour. 

Performances are scheduled for Saturday, February 1 at 10:00 am and 11:00 am in Morristown at Morristown Beard School, 70 Whippany Road Morristown, and  at 4:00 pm at The German School of Monmouth County, 112 Middletown Road, Holmdel, NJ.  All performances, which are presented for English and German speakers, are free and open to the public.  Donations would be appreciated.

“Uwe’s visit in 2011 was a hit with all our students and we’re thrilled we can bring him to two locations in New Jersey this winter, says Principal Michaela Greco. “Our schools not only teach a language but bring cultural events for the community to enjoy.”

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.


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According to childhood development experts puppets helps 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 [email protected] for more information about the performances. 

About the German Language School of Morris County (GLSMC) & German School of Monmouth County – GSMC

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...