Join us for the next Festival: January 15-26, 2025

Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival presents

Alex and Olmsted’s

MAROONED! A Space Comedy

January 22-24, 2024, Chopin Theatre


Director: Alex and Olmsted

Performers: Alex and Olmsted 


Voyager Golden Record: Tchakrulo by the Georgian S.S.R. Chorus

Labyrinth by Stefano Mastronardi

Début Impromptu by Kishi Bashi

Voyager Golden Record: Cranes in Their Nest by Goro Yamaguchi

Voyager Golden Record: Chinese Flowering Streams by Kuan P’ing Hu

Misty Mountain by Tilman Sillescu

Voyager Golden Record: Muğam by Kamil Jalilov

Space Disco by Stefano Mastronardi

Voyager Golden Record: String Quartet 13 in B flat, Op. 130, by Beethoven

Surgery by Kishi Bashi

Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It! by Kishi Bashi

Puppet makers: Alex and Olmsted

Scenography: Alex and Olmsted

Light Designer: Tori Muñoz

Costume Designer: Alex and Olmsted

Light Technicians: Chicago Puppet Fest staff

Dramaturg: Alex and Olmsted

Production Director and Tour Booking: Alex and Olmsted

Administration: Alex and Olmsted

Producer: Alex and Olmsted with help from the Jim Henson Foundation




“ …amusing, charming, delightful and, at times,
utterly and completely astonishing.”

– Lorraine Treanor, DC Theater Scene (April 29, 2019)

“Achingly beautiful…The setup is ingenious and inventive with what seem to be deliberately low-tech execution of some very ambitious production ideas…The puppets are captivating in their design simplicity and impressive in their use. The costumes seem right out of a George Lucas movie. In fact, everything about the production feels perfectly integrated, and the storytelling is personal, enchanting, and rich… Alex and Olmsted have devised a beautiful pieceof theater…”

– Max Garner, MD Theatre Guide (April 30, 2022)

“What’s in a name? That which we call Alex and Olmsted would by any name or names be full of innovation, emotion, and wry commentary on contemporary conventions…. …The magnetism of the performers, the deliberately slow-paced action, the array of media and the required attention to interpret the story were so mesmerizing… It is extraordinarily engaging to immerse into this performance collage, which, despite feeling deeply familiar, is packed with startling surprises….”

– Cybele Pomeroy, DC Metro Theater Arts (May 7, 2022)

“The playfulness of what is happening, despite the severity of the astronaut’s situation, is a driving force in the production’s overall flow. There is a thriving heart of hope and excitement, charged by Thomas, channeled to and reciprocated back by Vernon; the pair are a divine duo of comedic understanding, physically nuanced exchanges, and crafting extraordinary moments of motion in tandem with one another.”

– Amanda N. Gunther, TheatreBloom (May 3, 2019)

“See this wholesome and utterly mesmerizing show! Alex and Olmsted are leaders in their field for a reason. They are the mark all other puppetry is trying to achieve.”

– Baltimore Independent Theater Review (May 3, 2019)



DESCRIPTION: Alex and Olmsted’s Jim Henson Foundation grant awarded MAROONED! A Space Comedy is an innovative new puppet show, featuring music from the Voyager Golden Record, that takes place at the outer reaches of space. An astronaut crashes on an uncharted planet. Will she be able to survive strange creatures, anomalous atmosphere, and isolation in order to find her way home? See for yourself… in MAROONED!

Music: The Voyager Golden Record, chaired by Carl Sagan. In 1977, “NASA placed a… message aboard Voyager 1 and 2, a kind of time capsule, intended to communicate a story of our world to extraterrestrials. The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record, a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth.” – NASA

Film: Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902) and other films by Georges Méliès (1888–1923), 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick

Puppetry: Hansjürgen Fettig, Jim Kroupa

Science: Carl Sagan, Ada Lovelace, Sally Ride, Neil deGrasse Tyson



SPECIAL THANKS:  The Jim Henson Foundation, The Maryland State Arts Council, our Patrons on Patreon, David Plunkert, Glenn Ricci Photography, Sharon Crissinger, Leslie Swan Photography, Ryan Maxwell Photography, Submersive Productions, Paul Mirel, Chris Pfingsten, and our families.

COMPANY BIO: Alex and Olmsted (Alex Vernon and Sarah Olmsted Thomas) is an internationally acclaimed puppet theater and filmmaking company based in Maryland, USA. They have toured at festivals in Italy, Denmark, South Korea, and Canada, and have performed at numerous venues within the United States. Alex and Olmsted was awarded the 2020 State Independent Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, the highest honor for performing artists in the State of Maryland; their works have been supported by the Jim Henson Foundation, recognized by the New York Times, and named an official selection of the Maryland Film Festival, Paris Art Film, and others. Alex and Olmsted is a resident company at Baltimore Theatre Project. Vernon and Thomas are also proud company members of Happenstance Theater with whom they have created 11 productions since 2012.