Peacocks and Puppets

Although we mainly work with puppets for the theater, last month we had the opportunity to work on a short film project with She Monster Productions up in New York City. It was a video for the song ‘The Waltz’ by Ian Axel and featured several Muppet-style puppets alongside human actors. The puppets were provided by us and the New York based puppet company Puppetsburg. Set partly in the city and partly in an afterlife with a decaying, ornate feast, the video follows two women as they find each other, are separated through death and then find each other again.

Puppetry for film is very different than for the stage, and although our arms got tired, it was fun to try moments over and over again, with no thought for an audience’s patience or sight lines. Everyone connected with the project was creative and eager to try new things. And we got to meet a peacock! His name was Dexter and he wasn’t all that thrilled with tons of people and puppets invading the apartment where he lives, so while it would have been fun to have the puppets try and interact with him, we resisted. Here are some photos of the shoot. We will share the video when it is finished!

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Emily and Cecilia resting between shots.

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The feast table, set with all kinds of odd objects.

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Cecilia taking a quick nap behind the table.

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Puppets with one of the actors. They  look cute, but they can be dangerous!

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Peacock! Say hi to Dexter.

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We’re Going to Canada!

Wit’s End Puppets is taking to the road! Or the plane, as a matter of fact. We have been invited by the good folks at the University of Manitoba’s Mauro Center for Peace and Justice to perform Saudade at the Winnipeg International Storytelling Festival in May.

This is the first time we have been able to take a larger show to an out-of-town event, so we are extremely excited! Since we wrapped up our INTERSECTIONS run, we have been making some changes to the show, adding puppets, polishing scenes and revising sounds to better achieve the effects and images in our minds. We received lots of excellent feedback from our audiences at the Atlas, and have been considering how best to incorporate audience suggestions. The show has a new ending, several interludes that break up the stories of our three main characters and we are working towards creating recorded monologues to begin and end the show that will feature the voices of many of the people whose stories were captured and shared in the script. Here are a few pictures of the progress we’ve made so far:

Amy is carefully placing the tiny paper birds between these two silhouettes.

Amy is carefully placing the tiny paper birds between these two silhouettes.

A new scene added at the end of show.

A new scene added at the end of show.

The ending images were all cut in one long big piece this time.

The ending images were all cut in one long big piece this time.

We have to carefully cut off the bottom edge to make sure everything matches.

We have to carefully cut off the bottom edge to make sure everything matches.

The Long Saudade Crankie Saga

By far the most time-consuming part of building Saudade was the crankie which forms the bulk of the show. Additional images appear on the side screens, but most of the action happens on this very long roll of Tyvek in front of an LED light. It took nearly two months to design and cut out all the scenes on the crankie, and a week to put it all together. Here are photos from the process.

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Spacing the images is important and takes time.

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Amy and Genna work together to glue down an image.

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Each image gets sprayed with glue carefully. Sometimes it’s hard to keep different parts from sticking to each other before it’s glued down.

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The roll of Tyvek is longer than our box so we had to carefully measure and cut about six inches off the bottom of the entire roll.

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One of the many intricate images on the crankie.

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Delicate images wait on newspaper so they don’t get crushed before being added to the crankie. We took over most of the living room eventually.

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Most of the crankie images are cut from black Tyvek, but these included some silver tissue paper as well.

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Amy makes an adjustment before gluing down the final image.

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This is the final roll–nearly 3 inches thick!

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Our first rehearsal with the finished roll, testing the light and the box.

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Here’s what an image looks like from the reverse side…

IMG_2329And here it is in light! Hope you enjoyed this tour of the building process!

 

Workshop Photos

Puppets are not for the faint of heart. Photo by Patricia Germann.

Puppets are not for the faint of heart. Photo by Patricia Germann.

We had a fantastic two showings of Malevolent Creatures a few weeks ago. If you were unable to join us, here are some photos of the puppets and the process. Check back soon for more information about the next development stage of this show!

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Flowers and Ladders and Frogs, OH MY!

Rehearsals for Under the Canopy start today! In the midst of the snow last week, we got to set up some of the ladders and other objects in the Athenaeum to see how they look. It was a little odd creating a tropical rainforest in the midst of snowflakes! Here are some photos, and you can buy tickets for the show HERE. We hope to see you there!

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Building Under the Canopy

We’re in the midst of refurbishing old objects and building new ones for Under the Canopy, which Arts on the Horizon will produce in February. After a workshop production last summer, we learned a LOT about how babies respond to objects and what kinds of things capture their attention best. Here are a few photos of us at work as we build umbrella birds and caterpillars, ladder trees and butterflies.

Supplies waiting on the worktable.

Supplies waiting on the worktable.

Pieces for the umbrella bird, waiting to be glued on.

Pieces for the umbrella bird, all cut out and waiting to be glued on.

All glued or sewn on, now waiting for bird tails.

All glued or sewn on, now waiting for bird tails.

Amy and Genna at the worktable.

Amy and Genna at the worktable.

Genna trying out placements for the bird tails.

Genna trying out placements for the bird tails.

Kismet Photos

Only one weekend left to see The Amazing and Marvelous Cabinets of Kismet! We recommend buying tickets online–we have a relatively small number of seats and would hate to have you miss out. I’m excited to be able to share some of our beautiful production photos todaytaken by C. Stanley Photography!

Kismet, discovering that his world has been destroyed.

Kismet, discovering that his world has been destroyed.

Puppeteer Amie Root, with Lightbulb Head.

Puppeteer Amie Root, with Lightbulb Head.

Matt Reckeweg and Genna Davidson, with Kismet and Jellybird.

Matt Reckeweg and Genna Davidson, with Kismet and Jellybird.

Puppeteers Amy Kellett, Cecilia Cackley and Genna Davidson, with Nurse, Zoom and King Lamp.

Puppeteers Amy Kellett, Cecilia Cackley and Genna Davidson, with Nurse, Zoom and King Lamp.