Written by Rich Procter
In 1991, I was a reporter for a local LA news station, and I was lucky enough to interview the great Richard Edlund. Richard was a special effects genius – one of the first hires of Industrial Light & Magic when they were designing a new generation of special effects for “Star Wars.” He then started his own effects company, “Boss Films” and worked on films like “Ghostbusters” and “Die Hard.” The day I met him, he was ebullient. Why? Because he was a part of the CGI revolution in special effects that he knew would soon change everything. He ended the interview with a question I’ve never forgotten. “Soon we’ll be able to do absolutely EVERYTHING using a computer,” he said. “And so we have to ask ourselves: When we can do everything, what’s actually worth doing?”
What a profound question. We ask that every single day here at BRC. And that question points us to one of our best projects of the year.
This year we opened the Jameson Distillery Bow St. Experience in Dublin, Ireland. We designed, built and opened the United States of America Pavilion at Expo 2017, Astana, Kazakhstan. We opened “The Power of Rock” at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. And finally we opened “The Stories of the Bible” in Washington, D.C. We are proud of all these. Each is a success, touching hearts, producing smiles and making memories. But that isn’t the project I’m thinking of. It’s a project we did to support our local community.
The Bob Baker Marionette Theater has been an irreplaceable part of growing up in Southern California for fifty-five years. This is a place where three generations of
families have come together to laugh, enjoy mythic stories, celebrate birthdays and make memories. The site of the original theater is being converted into housing units. The developer is making five thousand square feet of space available for a new version of the marionette theater, contingent on a new design and a new group of generous donors.
BRC donated our time and talent for this project. Why? Because – see above – it’s worth doing. In fact, the world needs this kind of handcrafted, homemade, artisan children’s entertainment more than ever. Today children are in danger of being swallowed by media screens and hypnotized by digital technology. In this new marionette theater, they’ll enter a living, breathing “no screens” place of limitless imagination, where gifted puppeteers will delight, enchant, and interact with them. Young people will put down their phones and tablets and find themselves immersed in a theatrical tradition that goes back three thousand years.
Our Mission Statement is, “With every visitor experience we create, and in every heart that we touch, we strive to leave the world a better place by awakening the best in people.” The mission of the Bob Baker Marionette Theater is to “Entertain, to Educate, to Celebrate, to Rejuvenate!” What we do will help them do what they do. And another three…or five…or twenty generations of young people be filled with laughter and delight. Worth doing, definitely.