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Behind the Foam

A peek inside the workshop where Big Nazo creates its extraterrestrial entertainers

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Walking into 63 Washington Street, one gets the sense that anything can happen. You might open a closet and fall into Narnia or be transported to another planet, or even see a pretty cat named Solo wandering around. That’s all because at Big Nazo Lab, anything seems possible.

From their new downtown studio, founder and director Erminio Pinque and his team of creators breathe life into Big Nazo’s ridiculously amazing puppets. The group is well-known for their appearances around the city, performing at shows and festivals, but Big Nazo is not just about performing, it’s about teaching.

“We have an open door policy so we have volunteers, students, interns, and pros all working together in the same space. Lots of people from the art world work with us,” says Pinque. “It’s a little like Santa’s workshop.”

The crazy creatures aren’t made from anything high-tech, and visitors can see that if they stop at the shop, which they are welcomed to do. Foam and patterns are used to “create a new reality” and ideas aren’t thought out ahead of time. Basically, ideas come from what they have at their disposal.

Pinque’s unique vision has delighted audiences of all ages for years and created a memorable cast of freaky-but-friendly creatures. Big Nazo has produced some of the most unusual characters to ever walk the streets of Providence, which is saying something, considering Chthulhu was dreamed up here. 63 Washington Street