JoAnn McMillan’s Flying Hearts Theatre enthralled the audience at the Altus Public Library, Thursday, July 19. It was standing room only as many obviously remembered this talented puppeteer’s last visit to Altus. McMillan’s work is energetic, and full of artistry. Her puppets push the envelope in size and are crafted with care and an understanding of the messages they send.
This year’s these for the Summer Reading Program has been “Dream Big, Read!” Each of the featured artist have centered on a night subject to suit the theme. McMillan’s program this year was about the sun and planets in our solar system. Each was imbued with a certain personality to express variations of love, peace, and understanding. The mistress of gossamer and gargantuan, McMillan’s puppets are built for action.
Even the colorful Saturn puppet, which was too big to move without its framework, was rigged to spin around, displaying her lovely rings. Little Mercury was smaller but made up for it by his speed. The combination of McMillan’s amazing personal energy and the way she has the puppets constructed with pivoting mechanisms contribute to the high action of the program. The giant Jupiter puppet, unlike the planet he represents, must be very light from the way he was maneuvered by McMillan and two of her young helpers.
“The Night” program devised by McMillan is a learning-packed multi-media presentation carefully crafted to combine science and art. Her message of peace, love and understanding is clearly presented, infused with the sparkles and action loved by children of all ages.
The Summer Reading Program is sponsored by Sonic, The Oklahoma Arts Council, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Oklahoma Department of Libraries.
The final Summer Reading Program performance will feature the Dancing Eagles, at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 26.