Being green 

It ain't easy, especially when you're jonesing to be a prince

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Robert Faust begins his production of Little Big Frog as a puppeteer and ends it as a princess. The latter's dress suits him. Not because Faust enjoys the feel of tulle against his skin (though I wouldn't blame him), but because he's interested in exploring facades in theater, specifically masks.

"I got inspired [while] going to Mardi Gras," says Faust. Later, he honed in on this inspiration when a classmate from a mime class showed him how to create masks. "I had a knack for it."

Eventually, an art gallery invited him to teach a class, then some elementary schools. It all snowballed into a series of small productions that has propelled Faust all over the world.

Little Big Frog is an adaptation of The Frog Prince fairy tale, and Faust says he got the idea from "Fractured Fairy Tales" on "The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show." In Faust's version of the tale, the princess falls and ends up only brushing the frog's nose with her lips. Instead of becoming a prince, the frog just gets transformed into a bigger frog.

"The rest of the piece, he's trying to convince the Fairy Frog Mother to turn him into a prince," explains Faust. Every time the Fairy Frog Mother waves her fly swatter-slash-magic wand, the puppeteer, played by Faust, gets transformed into an ant, bug or some other type of unsavory vermin.

"[The show] is really an excuse for the audience to see a performer undergo a transformation with the mask," says Faust. The artist hopes to transform audience members with a message of tolerance.

Hey, if nothing else, it's worth seeing a grown man in a princess costume dancing with a frog puppet to "Strangers in the Night."

Little Big Frog

Manitou Art Theater, 515 Manitou Ave.

Saturday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 3, 2 p.m.

Tickets: $8; call 685-4729 or visit themat.org or faustwork.com for more information.

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