Preview: Puppet Lobby #3

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Alex & Olmsted. Photo by Kintz. 

We are thrilled to welcome Sarah Olmsted Thomas and Alex Vernon of Alex & Olmsted as our guests at our next Puppet Lobby on January 29. Alex and Sarah  have been making puppets together since 2010.  In recent years, they have performed at LaMaMa NYC, The Puppeteers of America Festival, Bread and Puppet Theater, and two National Puppet Slams. They will be talking about their show Milo the Magnificent which was awarded a 2017 Jim Henson Foundation Grant and a Greenbelt Community Foundation Grant and was featured on the front page of the Hartford Courant. Milo is a show about a magician with a variety show of tricks and science experiments that don’t go quite as planned. You can watch a trailer for the show here.

In addition to Alex & Olmsted, Wit’s End artistic director Cecilia Cackley will be talking about her latest project in the Brazilian style caja lambe-lambe, which is a form of street puppetry. She recently took her latest work-in-progress, called Library Love to the Savannah Children’s Book Festival. We hope you can join us to hear about these puppet projects on January 29th at 7:00 at the Selman Gallery at the Artspace Lofts in Brookland.

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Meet Puppeteers Amie Root and Matt Reckeweg

We’ve had some casting changes in The Amazing and Marvelous Cabinets of Kismet over these past few weeks, due to some unforeseen circumstances. As a result, we are thrilled to welcome Amie Root and Matt Reckeweg to the project!

Amie RootAmie Root is a performer, fight director, choreographer, stage combat and movement instructor based out of Washington, DC. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a BA in Drama, with a focus in physical theatre. She currently works as a teaching artist for the Tony award winning Shakespeare Theater Company, DC. She has taught movement and stage combat courses at University of Kentucky, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Regent University-Virginia Beach, Kennesaw State University, as well as the three week National Stage Combat Workshop hosted by North Carolina School of the Arts and returned, for a third year, to the three week Central Illinois Stage Combat Workshop hosted by Eureka College. She is also guest artist faculty for California State University’s Summer Arts program hosted by CSU-Monterey Bay.

Matt ReckewegMatt Reckeweg is a director, puppeteer, visual artist, and a DC area native. He studied Theatre at the University of Maryland, College Park where he was a member of the improvisational theatre group, Erasable Inc. In 2009, he co-founded Pointless Theatrea DC non-profit organization dedicated to creating original works of puppet spectacle, where he currently serves as Co-Artistic Director. Pointless directing credits include: Canterbury (2013), Minnie the Moocher (2012), Hugo Ball: a Super Spectacular Dada Adventure (2011)and The Sleeping Beauty: a puppet ballet (2010). Pointless design credits include: Imagination Meltdown Adventure (2012), and The Solar System Show(2010). Other credits include performing at the Puppet Co. in Glen Echo, and designing for Flying V TheatreIn addition, Matt also teaches puppetry and improv through various schools and local organizations including Arena Stage.

Meet Puppeteer Heather Carter

The first in a series of short interviews with the cast of The Amazing and Marvelous Cabinets of Kismet. All photos are by Sarah Gingold

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Heather and Kismet.

Bio: Born helpless, nude and unable to provide for herself, Heather Carter eventually learned to overcome two of those three problems. Preferring to refer to herself not only in the third person but also as a ‘theater-maker’ she works on developing a type of theater that is holistically informed: that is, everybody does everything. A puppet maker, physical theater performer and erstwhile lighting designer and electrician, she loves the spectacle of theater and introducing the improbably and imaginative into Everyday LIfe. Formal training includes: The Center for Movement Theater (DC), Sandglass Puppetry Institute (VT), Commedia Dell-Arte with Antonio Fava (Reggio Emilia, Italy), Shakespeare and Co. (MA), Yale School of Drama (CT) and Marlboro College (VT).

When did you first get interested in puppetry? 

Apparently I used to pull the tongue out of a crocheted cow hand-puppet when I was a three year old. Later I went to a college in Vermont where puppetry was a really big deal and I really hated it for my first year and a half there. But then I saw Autumn Portraits, a famous show by my advisor Eric Bass and I finally understood why some stories can only be told by puppets.

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Heather and the Lightbulb puppet.

When I was at the Sandglass Institute for puppet training, one of my first practice ensembles had a puppet that looked like a giant blue sun head, some sort of fabric and a plumb line in it. We spent a huge amount of time trying to figure out when the plumb line should drop out of the head and I still don’t know what that show was about, exactly.

Which is your favorite puppet that you perform in Cabinets of Kismet? 

Kismet! As I discover more about how the puppet is built and his specific movement qualities, he’s become a very sweet, clumsy, myopic and steadfast creature. He has a lot of character and fidelity, who’s the kind of person I would be friends with.