Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, the voice of Abby Cadabby on “Sesame Street,” wants to “Wake Up Your Weird” at the Scottish Rite Theater in May.
The story takes her puppet, 5-year-old Lolly Lardpop, on a journey to rebuild her confidence after the neighborhood girls make fun of the dolls Lolly has made.
Whereas Abby Cadabby is a wish fairy who only sees the positive side, as fairies do, Lolly is a “force of nature and has this confidence,” Carrara-Rudolph says. But don’t talk to Lolly about Abby. “She’s a little bitter about this. She has a lot of anger management issues,” Carrara-Rudolph jokes.
Carrara-Rudolph’s joyously lets her creativity unleash as she slips from one voice to the next while demonstrating how Abby and Lolly are their own unique creations as well as how each puppet in “Wake Up Your Weird” is given a distinct character.
Carrara-Rudolph, who once wanted to be a special education teacher, uses both career paths in “Wake Up Your Weird.” In college she studied child development using the arts as therapy.
In the 45-minute first act, Lolly gets advice from her grandmother, a sasquatch best friend, a lizard and a godmother lamb. The neighborhood girls attack Lolly in all the ways that emotional bullies do: They call her dolls ugly, stupid and not good enough.
“She gets hit emotionally by a bunch of lies,” Carrara-Rudolph says. The show asks, “Why does she believe those lies?” and shows her “getting back to her truth,” Carrara-Rudolph says.
“Bullying is a hot-button issue right now,” she says. “We have an epidemic of mean.” She sees a lot of people who are unkind, impatient and thoughtless every day.
The 35-minute second act is full of audience participation and is a behind-the-scenes look at how the puppetry of the first act happens. She added the second act because after her shows kids were asking a lot of questions about how it’s done. While Carrara-Rudolph is behind all the characters, it takes a team of people to put on the show from music to lighting design to helping her get into and out of each puppet.
Even though it’s a show filled with puppets, it’s not for the “Sesame Street” toddler and preschool audience. It deals with dark concepts of bullying and lack of self-esteem. Lolly even takes her brain out for a walk to regain her confidence. It’s ideal for elementary school-aged kids, but it’s also been a hit with seniors and parents who say they, too, have to deal with their brain’s negative thoughts.
The Austin performances on May 11 and May 12 mark the official premiere of the show, which has been in development and done in workshops for about five years. School groups also will see the show during the week. Carrara-Rudolph is creating educational worksheets to go along with her shows.
Even though the show is about bullying, she says, it’s about more than that. “It’s what it feels like when you’re hurt and how can you get back to where you are Lolly again.”
“Wake Up Your Weird”
11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. May 11-12
Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St.
More upcoming family events
“A Winter’s Tale.” Austin Shakespeare presents a classic with a Brazilian Carnivale fiesta thrown in. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays May 2-26. Free. Zilker Hillside Theatre, 2201 Barton Springs Road. www.austinshakespeare.org
TEXploration Family Story Time. A Texas-themed story. 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. May 4. $9 adults, $8 students, $7 seniors and military, $6 ages 4-17. Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com.
“Little Mermaid.” A one-woman telling of the classic Hans Christian Andersen story. 11 a.m., 2 p.m. Saturdays through May 11. Zach Theatre Whisenhunt Stage, 1510 Toomey Road. $14. 512-476-0541, www.zachtheatre.org.
Family-friendly Cinco de Mayo. Face painting, balloon makers, dancing and live music from Bombasta, La Guerrilla, Charanga Cakewalk and more. 1-9 p.m. May 5. Second Street between Guadalupe and San Antonio Streets. http://cincoaustin.splashthat.com
Second Saturdays. AMOA-Arthouse offers hands-on family workshops. This month: Mighty Kites. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. May 11. $5 member families, $10 nonmember families. 3809 W. 35th St. amoa-arthouse.org.
“Plus Meets Minus.” Pollyanna Theatre Company presents a tale of when Plus and Minus come together as two very different characters. 4 p.m. May 11, 2 p.m. May 12, 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. May 18. $10.75 adults, $8.75 children 12 and younger, $9.75 seniors and students. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. 457-5100. www.thelongcenter.org.
“Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy.” Lightning McQueen, The Little Mermaid, Tinkerbell and Buzz Lightyear among other Disney stars put on their skates. 7:30 p.m. May 16-18, 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. May 18, and 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. May 19. $10-$55. Cedar Park Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park. 512-600-5000, www.cedarparkcenter.com.
“The Odd Squad.” Central Texan and “Over the Hedge” creator presents his new children’s series. 2 p.m. May 18. Book People, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. www.bookpeople.com.
“Scooby-Doo Live! Musical Mysteries.” Scooby-Doo and friends hit the stage. Noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. May 19. $13-$65. Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St. 471-7744, uterwincenter.com.
“Peter Pan.” Rawson Saunders School presents the classic tale of a boy who won’t grow up. $12. 7 p.m. May 23-May 24. Stateside at the Paramount, 719 Congress Ave. 474-1221, www.austintheatre.org.
“Octopus Alone.” Divya Srinivasan tells the story of an octopus in a cave watching the world go by. 2 p.m. May 25. Book People, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. www.bookpeople.com
More at Statesman.com/mamadrama
Find more family news and tips on the Mama Drama blog, including ticket giveaways for some of the listed family events.
Also join me at Ignite Women’s Health’s dayof renewal, 1:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Seton Medical Center Williamson, 201 Seton Parkway, Round Rock. The day is free and will include cooking demonstrations, Zumba, yoga, fashion, meditation, personal organization and a fashion show. Find more information at www.goodhealth.com.