First performed April 26, 27, 28 and May 3, 4, 5 of 2001 at the Rand Theater at UMass Amherst.
Archipelago of Delight combines colorful puppetry, jazz-inspired music, and the medieval legend of the Seven Deadly Sins to weave the tale of a mythical trickster hero's journey. As he travels through a chain of islands, he encounters Greed, Gluttony, Lust and the other Sins that haunt our materialistic society. By turns mysterious and bawdy, magical and witty, Archipelago is the original creation of UMass Amherst Department of Theater faculty members Miguel Romero and Harley Erdman, in collaboration with composer Christopher Haynes of Springfield College. Most of the "actors" in the piece are puppets, created and manipulated in styles inspired by Romero's study of traditional puppetry around the world. Puppets are traditionally associated with children's entertainment, but leave your preconceptions behind: Archipelago of Delight is not your average puppet show.
This is a breathtaking show to watch. The puppetry really is superb, and it has the witty charm of Blue Man Group. The only disappointment came from the musical interludes between each of the three Islands visited by the main character "Kid." The lyrics were trite and dull, and the melodies seemed to have been chosen only for their high level of difficulty and with no thought given to whether or not they would actually sound good. Aside from that, however, it is a wonderful show with some hilarious moments, and it was expertly done.