Princesses, talking animals, rainbow goblins and other fairytale characters come to life five times a month at the San Marcos Public Library.
Stephanie Langenkamp, San Marcos Public Library children’s director, started performing puppet shows in 1978. She has been the voice of Goldilocks for more than 30 years. Langenkamp performed, wrote and recorded the soundtracks used for 25 puppet shows.
Ashley Schimelman, the children’s librarian, performs different puppet shows from the repertoire each year. She has been a puppeteer at the library for 10 years.
Stories such as The Gingerbread Man, Beauty and the Beast and Three Billy Goats Gruff are prerecorded on a CD and played during the puppet show performance. Kathy Garcia, children’s library clerk, said puppeteers then move their hands in time with the voices.
Garcia said the puppet shows are a hit with children and parents. She said audience members sit on the floor in front of the stage to watch the show. Garcia said local daycares and Hernandez Elementary students attend. She said the children laugh the most when the puppets chase one another across the stage.
“The puppet shows bring stoires to life that maybe children haven’t heard before,” Garcia said.
Schimelman said volunteers in the community made the original puppet show stage and many of the puppets and backdrops. Garcia said the cloth Goldilocks puppet, made with yellow yarn hair and googly eyes, was made by a volunteer.
Christine Troetschel, San Marcos Public Library page, said the Goldilocks puppet has been used in many of the shows.
A closet in the library houses the new collapsible stage and multiple boxes of puppets. The stage stands more than four feet tall with a red curtain and two spotlights. Troetschel said Schimelman has accumulated “puppet show stuff” over the years and has also made puppets out of felt, yarn and other household materials.
Troetschel is a puppeteer understudy. She has performed in The Night Before Christmas: in Texas, that is, with the library at Sights and Sounds last year. She has also performed in The Rainbow Goblins, a puppet play written by Schimelman. Troetschel said the play is about different colored goblins who eat rainbows.
“The goblins traveled all over the land, and they ate all the rainbows, and they were out of rainbows,” Troetschel said. “They went to the Valley of the Rainbow, where the rainbow was born. They were going to eat it and then … I don’t want to ruin the ending.”
Melissa McColgan, mathematics freshman, was a volunteer during the performance of The Rainbow Goblins. McColgan began volunteering when she was a sophomore at San Marcos High School. McColgan’s aunt told her about volunteer opportunities with the library’s summer reading program.
“I was in the Anime Club, which Ms. Ashley (Schimelman) helps with,” McClogan said. “My volunteering changed. I started helping to volunteer more, and she does more of the kids stuff, like the arts and crafts in the morning.”
McColgan said Schimelman asked her to perform in The Rainbow Goblins puppet show because one of the puppeteers could not attend.
“I was the lead head goblin in The Rainbow Goblins puppet show,” McClogan said. “It was a lot of fun.”