Mal Copeland built an entire city neighbourhood out of styrofoam and plywood, and filled it with filthy-mouthed puppets.
You can hardly tell by looking, but Mr Copeland, producer of SoPopera’s production of acclaimed Broadway musical Avenue Q, spent months crafting the play’s detailed backdrop – a derelict city block – out of old wood and cheap foam in his garage.
‘‘We’ve been storing it in the carport at home,’’ daughter and Avenue Q director Amy Copeland said.
SoPopera, a theatre company made up mostly of current and former University of Wollongong performance students, last night opened their second season of Avenue Q after a successful run at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre earlier this year.
Described as ‘‘an adults-only Sesame Street,’’ the multi Tony Award-winning musical features a mix of elaborate puppets and human characters exploring life, adulthood, racism, sex and love.
‘‘It is for the young at heart, not the young,’’ Amy warned parents expecting a cute children’s puppet show.
‘‘We got the licensing for the production and staged it in January, and they asked us to bring it back.’’
Months of preparation included a full band and a cast of 11 learning all the music and songs, sourcing the puppets from halfway across the country, and building the two-storey set with functioning doors, windows, stairs and scaffolds.
‘‘We’ve learnt a lot from the first time.
‘‘We know the set, the jokes have all been stepped up, and we’re a lot sharper,’’ Amy said.
Avenue Q runs until Saturday.