It's been a season for whimsy and old-fashioned clowning in local theater, with Bill Irwin bringing his adaptation of Molière's Scapin to A.C.T., and now with Berkeley Rep's new theatrical adaptation of Lemony Snicket's The Composer Is Dead, in collaboration with NYC-based puppet-masters Phantom Limb Company. The production is an amalgam of puppetry, symphonic music, live-action film, and "living breathing theater," featuring a single multi-talented jester by the name of Geoff Hoyle (who also appeared in Scapin). The basis for the piece is Lemony Snicket's (a.k.a. Daniel Handler's) children's book and accompanying audio CD of the same name, which had original music by composer Nathaniel Stookey that was performed by the San Francisco Symphony. Handler wanted to turn the story — meant as an entertaining way to teach children about the parts of an orchestra, as told through Snicket's deceptively adult brand of wit — into a live theater piece, and the result was a half-hour long script to be performed by one man and several dozen marionettes, in a Victorian-style tableau of a stage set.