by Jessie Ammons
photograph courtesy Lee Capps
A stone’s-throw from the Haw River in Saxapahaw sits a cavernous warehouse full of papier-mache masks as large as dining tables, massive fabric-draped figures, and vibrantly painted sewn props. The fantastical setting is home base for Paperhand Puppet Intervention, an Orange County theatre company. Throughout the year, the group uses ingredients including cardboard, bamboo, leftover house paints, and donated burlap sacks from nearby breweries to create giant puppets, masks, and creatures on stilts. Paperhand performs across the state throughout the year, but its annual summer pageant-play-extravaganza is the main attraction. The hourish-long performances usually celebrate nature, and always feature more than a dozen Paperhand volunteer performers and a live score. You can see them at the Forest Theatre in Chapel Hill Sept. 1 – 4, the N.C. Museum of Art Sept. 8 – 10, and in Greensboro later this month.