It is finally SUMMER! We are thrilled to be working on several collaborative projects this month with other companies in and around DC. We will be updating this space with process photos and information on public performances, so check back often!
Our first project is called Drift, and is a caja lambe-lambe show created by Cecilia as part of I Thought The Earth Remembered Me, a promenade piece by banished? productions. We have been friends with the banished? team for quite some time (artistic director Carmen Wong directed our show Cabinets of Kismet in 2013) so we’re thrilled to get to play with this new show of theirs for the Capital Fringe Festival. Comprised of five separate segments that run the gamut from dance to music, to storytelling and food, the show is a reflection on belonging within tangible or invisible kingdoms in our environment. This piece will take be presented at the ARTillery in the Brookland neighborhood of DC and opens July 12. Check out the Fringe website for more details.
Our second project of the summer reunites us with friends at Arts on the Horizon in Alexandria for the workshop of a brand-new baby theater piece called Space-Bop. Created by Tia Shearer-Bassett and with music composed and performed by Christylez Bacon it brings our youngest theater goers into the world of outer space. We are excitedly researching rocket ships and astronaut suits right now, along with stars and comets. If you have children under the age of two, keep an eye out for an announcement of workshop performance dates when you can bring them to see our space-inspired puppets.
Puppets have to wait patiently until we’re ready to work with them again.
We had our last story meeting of the summer for Malevolent Creatures this past week and we are heading into the fall with many new ideas and renewed energy. If you missed our first workshop in June, keep an eye on this space for more info about our next one. We hope to see you there for some magical puppet encounters!
So here’s a little secret: I love research. It’s definitely not the most glamorous part of puppetry and doesn’t provide as many fun photo or video opportunities. But lately I’ve been spending lots of time in this room, and you have to admit, it’s beautiful:
That’s the Main Reading Room at the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress and it’s a pretty fun place to do research. You have to request books ahead of time and show a special card to get them (yes, it feels like belonging to a secret club). There are desks with little lights and numbers on them and there’s a huge echo every time someone drops a pencil. The books often have special labels in the front and if I need a break from reading, I can stare up at lots of statues and paintings all around the ceiling. What’s not to love?
We are deep in Phase 1 of our next devised piece, which is inspired by British folklore and in particular, Katherine Briggs’ seminal work A Dictionary of Fairies. Genna and Amy and I, as well as several other collaborators, have been reading all the folktales, fairy traditions, and stories of fairy encounters we can get our hands on. We’re not entirely sure what kind of puppet piece we will end up with, but it’s going to be lots of fun getting there!
Looking ahead to the fall and next year, we are thrilled to be able to announce two collaborative projects we will be working on next season with two different DC area companies.
First, we will be creating puppets and objects for Under the Canopy, a theater piece created for children age 0-2 by Tia Shearer and Matt Bassett for Arts on the Horizon. This project will have a workshop in early August and a full production next February. Tia and Matt have done some lovely work for little ones in the past and we are excited to get to work with them on this rainforest inspired, multi-sensory experience for families. We are looking forward to learning lots about how to best reach our youngest audiences!
We will also be designing and building shadow puppets for Fabulas Mayas, the first show of the GALita season for children at GALA Hispanic Theatre. Written by Cecilia Cackley, this bilingual show is adapted from Guatemalan fables of the Maya tradition, and features the Creator and Shaper of the world along with various animals who play tricks on each other and in general cause trouble. We are also looking at possibly touring this production to area schools in November. We are excited about sharing lots of new puppets and stories with DC this year! See you at the theater!