Center for the Arts to Present Hudson Vagabond Puppets' "Ferdinand the Bull"

By Kelli Bocock-Natale

Release Date: September 24, 2001 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The UB Center for the Arts will present Hudson Vagabond Puppets' Ferdinand the Bull, based on the classic tale by Munro Leaf, at 2 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Mainstage theatre in the Center for the Arts on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

Free kids activities will be provided one hour prior to the performance, which is part of the UB Center for the Arts Family Adventure series sponsored by Adelphia Media Services and WJYE-FM.

Ferdinand the Bull, the story of the bull who wouldn't fight, will be told in a narrated ballet with masked dancers, specialized mechanical figures and a larger-than-life bull. The puppets and scenery are based as closely as possible on the book's illustrations by Robert Lawson. After the program, students will have the opportunity to get involved in an on-stage demonstration of non-violent conflict-resolution techniques.

The play tells the story of Ferdinand, a bull growing up in the Spanish countryside. When the other bulls invite Ferdinand to run and play fighting games with them, he declines, preferring the shade of a cork tree and the smell of the flowers. His mother tries to persuade him to run and play, but nothing can convince him to fight with the other bulls. Ferdinand grows up to be a big, strong bull nonetheless, and in time the men from the city come to the countryside to pick the strongest, meanest bull for the bullfight in Barcelona. Just then, Ferdinand sits on a bumblebee and the men from the city see an amazing display of furious jumping and kicking by the astonished bull. Ferdinand is taken in a wagon to the bullfight.

In the city, the people are preparing for the bullfight with a big festival of dancing and singing. Ferdinand is the center of attention, with people shouting and clapping and flowers strewn about everywhere. The matador arrives, proud and severe, but try as he might, he could not get Ferdinand to fight. Ferdinand, as usual, preferred to just sit and smell the flowers.

The Hudson Vagabond Puppets creates larger-than-life puppetry and mask programs designed to fit into the school curriculum, as well as to entertain children and their families. Company performers are professional dancers and actors. Clad in black, the puppeteers borrow from the traditional Japanese Bunraku style of puppetry, becoming mere shadows of the enormous figures they bring to life.

Tickets for Ferdinand the Bull are $12 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at the Center Box Office and all Ticketmaster locations, including Kaufmann's and Movies Plus. To charge tickets call 852-5000; in Canada, call (416)-870-8000. For more information call, 645-ARTS. For group sales, call 645-6771 or visit the Center for the Arts Web site at