Martina Plag’s “Monsters Under the Bed”


West Philadelphia has a rich puppetry community, and 40th Street Air is celebrating the career of resident artist, Martina Plag.  I had the extraordinary chance to speak with Martina in her exhibition, “Monsters Under the Bed,” a retrospective of some of the puppetry she has brought to Philadelphia audiences and beyond.  She has directed, designed, performed, and created shows for innovative companies including Gas & Electric Arts’ “Hershel and the Hobgoblins,”  EgoPo’s “The Golem,” and Allen’s Lane Theatre’s “Something Wicked this Way Comes.”  She described her use of found materials and traditional puppet forms. She revealed some secrets such as that she sculpts some faces out of insulation foam and finds many items in the aisles of the hardware store.  I was especially impressed by her Emma Goldman and Leo Tolstoy puppets whose words extend from the mouths in the hand of the puppeteer.  She demonstrated table tabletop techniques and expressed the power of scale, showing how a character on stilts interacts with a smaller hand-operated figure.  It was a rare treat to interact with Martina and to see how she powers her puppets, demystifying the magic behind her contraptions and captivating us with her mastery of form.

40th Street Air
4007 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 

Additional viewing times: Friday, May 18th and 25th, 3-7pm or by appointment (call 215-429-9939)

For more information about Martina Plag, visit:


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