Undark - A Radioactive Puppet Play
by Trouble Puppet Theatre Company

May. 27, 2022

(via The Vortex)Trouble Puppet Theater Co. announces UNDARK: A Radioactive Puppet Play, telling the story of America’s WWI-era “Radium Girls”, produced with the support of a Workshop Grant from the Jim Henson Foundation. 


Using extensive shadow puppetry and its signature table top puppets, Trouble Puppet adds to its list of historical and labor themed plays (The Jungle, The Bomb in Haymarket Square, Crapstall Street Boys, and The Gunpowder Plot: or, How I Became A Catholic Suicide Bomber) with this tale of female workers manufacturing luminous timepieces and navigational instruments using the newly discovered natural wonder, radium.


As American workers in the 21st century again turn to unions in a pitched battle between oligarchy and the rights of citizens, Trouble Puppet looks back to one of the tragic episodes that led to the legal establishment of Workers’ Rights, in a struggle often led by women in the face of the added assault of misogyny and sex discrimination.


In the early twentieth century the United States saw the first World War, the Roaring Twenties, and the Great Depression.  Science and technology discovered and created marvels including radium, implementing them for wartime advantage and peacetime profit.  In the pursuit of such rapid, sweeping development, workers often became collateral damage in the great American Industrial Experiment.  Women in particular were treated as a resource to which industry bore no responsibility.  In many cases, women were the indomitable leaders who fought back against corporate impunity. The case of the “Radium Girls” is a story of shocking criminal negligence and the perseverance of women against a misogynistic system.


UNDARK: A Radioactive Puppet Play is part of Trouble Puppet’s continuing mission to use the art of puppetry to promote messages of social and economic justice.



Connor Hopkins, a self-taught puppet-maker and puppeteer, is the founder and Artistic Director of Trouble Puppet Theater Company (2004–current) in Austin, Texas (described in the Austin Chronicle in March 2014 as “one of the most revered theater companies in Austin”) and, previously, of the Personal Demons of the Republic (2000–2004).  He has written and produced more than a dozen plays for American tabletop puppets, shadow puppets, hand puppets, and Czech-style marionettes. His major works include The Jungle (recipient of B. Iden Payne awards for Outstanding Script, Outstanding Direction of a Drama, Outstanding Sound Design, and Special Certificate for Puppetry; Austin Theater Examiner Award for Best New Play Written by an Austinite; and placement on four Austin Chronicle “Best of” the year lists), Frankenstein (recipient of B. Iden Payne Awards for Outstanding Puppetry, Outstanding Direction of a Drama, Outstanding Production of a Drama), and Riddley Walker (recipient of Outstanding Sound Design, Outstanding Media Design, Outstanding Puppetry; an Austin Critics’ Table Award; and inclusion on the Austin Chronicle’s “Top 10 Arts Events”).

Undark - A Radioactive Puppet Play
by Connor Hopkins
Trouble Puppet Theatre Company

May 27, 2022
Vortex Repertory Theatre
2307 Manor Road
Austin, TX, 78722

Trouble Puppet Theater Company presents:

UNDARK: A Radioactive Puppet Play

An original historical play by Connor Hopkins

May 27 - June 12, 2022 @ The VORTEX

Thurs - Sat @ 8 pm/ Sun @ 6 pm

(via Trouble Puppet)