Photo:Caleb Carr

About the show

PUNSCHI is an enchanting tradition of imaginative puppetry and entertainment! Originally created by Sandglass’ Co-Founder, Ines Zeller Bass, now performed by her daughters, Jana Zeller and Shoshana Bass.

Featuring hand puppets, a miniature circus, general buffoonery and music, these second generation performers present their children's entertainment program for your pleasure.

THE PERFORMANCE can be presented in a complete 50-minute program including the Flea Circus and Kasper and the Cow, or customized by individual presentation of any of the acts.

20 minutes Join the mighty Fritzi, a tiny flea with a big personality, as he dazzles audiences with his talents as strongman, tightrope walker, and even get’s fired from a cannon.

20 minutes Our favorite flea goes on an adventure around the globe, sampling the delights and flavors of many lands. Traveling by hot air balloon, blimp and submarine, he will astound and astonish with his tiny antics.

20 minutes Iconic German children’s hero, Kasper, and his best friend, the endearing giant Augustin, go on a rollicking chase to reclaim Kasper’s suitcase.. Stolen by the cow!

20 minutes When the giant Augustin wins a tiny airplane, his buddy Kasper accidentally flies off with it. Kids delight in this dizzying, call-and-response adventure!

In addition to the performance we offer workshops and residencies to students.

A two hour session in which we construct a simple puppet that is appropriate for the age group we are working with and show basic manipulation techniques. Each participant gets to bring their hand-made puppet home.

Create a puppet show from conception to performance with our one or two week residencies. Participants will each create a puppet; and together they'll create their set, rehearse and finally perform their own show. Alongside the building of the show, we use theater games to learn how to manipulate a puppet, develop performance skills, and build individual and group confidence.

The stories can be customised to support your current curriculum.
(802) 387 – 4051

Video by Willow O’Feral

History | Inspiration | Legacy

This collection of shows is derived from the old fairground traditions of German Puppet Theater, and was originally created by Ines Zeller Bass in Munich, Germany. Kasper became a children's entertainment hero in the 1900s and the flea circus holds its roots in the traditional entertainment of European courts, and can still be enjoyed at the October Fest in Munich. Ines grew up surrounded by these cultural staples and was captured by the magical innocence of this form. Punschi made its first appearance in the early 1980s at a puppet festival in Munich, where Ines improvised her stage by stringing a rope and covering it with a dirty tarp. She used the traditional characters and created original stories. From there she played in markets and parks, political rallies, kindergartens and her children's birthday parties under her huge sun umbrella. The piece began touring internationally in 1983.

Kasper has always held a rapport with his audiences all over the world and the interactive nature of the tradition includes jokes for both children and adults, and plenty of opportunity to call out to the characters on stage, and help move the story forward.

Ines' daughters, Jana and Shoshana, grew up traveling around with these shows, helping to set up, and playing with the puppets backstage. In 2013 Ines retired from performing her family shows and handed the pieces, sets and the puppets over to her two daughters. Jana and Shoshana have combined the shows and filled them with musical interludes, snappy banter and a blessing honoring their mother and the living on of a tradition.

Artist bios

Jana Zeller, Sandglass Associate Artist

Jana grew up in this family of internationally touring puppeteers and started working as a designer and painter for the theater in her teens. As a set painter and designer she has worked for the theater, opera, TV, and the movies, and has designed and built a wide range of puppets. She founded her own puppet company and has created three full-length puppet shows for adults. Her work has been presented in the US, Canada, Mexico, Germany and India. For the past two years Jana has been enjoying performing for family audiences and touring with her sister, presenting a show that the two girls inherited from their mother Ines.

Shoshana Bass, Ensemble Performer

Shoshana refers to herself as one of the daughters of sand, and is currently approaching the possibilities of continuing Sandglass Theater’s life into the next generation. Having been raised in a traveling family of internationally acclaimed puppeteers, she has spent her life witnessing and in dialogue with artistic voices of diverse cultures, heritages, and perspectives. Her performance mediums range throughout theater, dance, circus and puppetry, which makes her an enthusiastic and flexible collaborator. She is a graduate of Naropa University with an Interdisciplinary degree in performing arts, peace studies and tai chi. Shoshana has performed and choreographed in Poland, the Virgin Islands, Germany, and the United States.