Rogue Artists Ensemble’s ‘Wood Boy Dog Fish’


“There’s a kind of magic in the material of things. Don’t you think?”

This was the sixth Rogue Artists Ensemble production I’ve been to and it definitely did not disappoint. The Rogues are phenomenal at their art of puppetry, masks, and “hyper-theater.” While implementing such jarring and intricate imagery, their stories also always have so much heart. The deeper themes in each production seep through the eeriness to create something beautiful and fascinating. As the gentlemen next to me at the show said, their shows are always like a “delightful acid trip.” I couldn’t agree more.

Wood Boy Dog Fish is the Rogues’ most recent stage spectacle based on the original stories of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. They boast that this isn’t your childhood Disney version of the story, but a much darker, humorous, human retelling. Ten years in the making, this story tells the tale of Geppetto set in a seaside town called Shoreside, where he must create wooden projects for the notorious Fire Eater. The blue fairy is Blue, an old flame who haunts him from beyond the grave. The cricket is killed. And the dogfish is the elusive enigma that injects fear into every corner of the scene.

The Rogues consistently do an amazing job blurring the lines between high tech and low tech in theater. Their use of puppetry and masks and storytelling echo a time long before technology, while their music, video projection, and 3D effects speak to a millennial age of multimedia usage. This combination works seamlessly on stage… the use of ancient storytelling techniques with audio and visual effects blended effortlessly.

I have attended their previous shows at the Bootleg Theater, where this one was held. I love the venue. I find it just intimate enough to hold a small production yet large enough to produce a sold out show. Plus, having a bar in the lobby makes the environment feel that much more casual.

Their artistry is amazing and I am always a huge fan of their work. Previous work I have seen of theirs includes The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch, Gogol Project, Hyperbole: origins, D Is for Dog, and Songs of Bilitis. You can check out my post about Songs of Bilitis here, where I was lucky enough to chat with some of the cast after the show.

Below are some photos from their website. The final ones are mine that I took at the matinee performance.

Oh and don’t forget to #killthecricket.


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