Sandglass Theater presents ‘A Rafter of Crankies’ on Nov. 24 and 25

PUTNEY — Sandglass Theater's "A Rafter of Crankies" is back at Green Mountain Orchards on West Hill Road for the third consecutive year. Performances will take place on Friday, Nov. 24, at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Once again, the Crankies event will be part of the Putney Craft Tour on Thanksgiving Weekend.

Crankies are panoramic scrolls that are hand-cranked using handles on either side of a box that the scrolls wind through. "The effect is like watching the analog ancestor of a movie, or a comic strip that combines with a song or story," say organizers. Although they are often associated with Appalachian folk tradition, today's crankies embrace cultural, musical, and artistic expressions that are contemporary "and as unpredictable as the weather."

This year's performing artists include Rafter founders Eric Bass, Ines Zeller Bass, and Brendan Taaffe, all with new crankies created especially for this event.

New to the event are: Emily Schubert, from Pennsylvania, who has enriched the national crankie scene as director of the famed Baltimore Crankie Fest, and Alexandra Gorlin-Crenshaw, from Montreal, who performs in Yiddish with hand-made fold-out books, a cousin of crankies. Brattleboro's John Ungerleider, known locally as a songwriter and social justice activist, will enter the crankie arena with a first-ever scroll of his Mr. Mariposa, a work about climate change, illustrated by Maddy Conley.

Why a Rafter of Crankies? "Rafter" is the group name for turkeys (just as fish group in schools or geese in gaggles). Just look at the ceiling of Green Mountain Orchards and you'll see why the name fits for a group of crankies as well. "And on Thanksgiving weekend," ask organizers, "what better way to tie the rafter together than with the traditional meal and a crankie performance?"

Sandglass will also be part of the Putney Craft Tour, with puppets and crankies for sale at Sandglass Theater's workshop, behind the theater at 17 Kimball Hill in Putney Village.

Heating will run before and between shows; the temperature in the building should be somewhere between outdoors and cozy. Bring layers. Cider and baked snacks will be available by donation.

Tickets for A Rafter of Crankies are $20 for adults, $18 for students and seniors, and $16 for EBT and Medicaid cardholders. They can be purchased online or at the door. No one will be turned away from this event for lack of funds. For more information, visit:

This The Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

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