April Grab Bag

A round-up of articles and events we’ve highlighted on Twitter this month. 

Sleeping Beauty in performance. Photo by Gene Carl Feldman.

Sleeping Beauty in performance. Photo by Gene Carl Feldman.

1. Pointless Theatre’s production of Sleeping Beauty: a puppet ballet has only one more weekend to run! You’ll be sorry if you miss it.

2. Elizabeth Hyde Stevens wrote this article for Salon about the Muppets and how they created Generation X.

3. A group of Argentine puppeteers is seeking participants for a convention of women puppeteers from around the world, to be held in Argentina this coming November. Stated goals for the convention include discussion about the messages of shows, the space we occupy, who we reach with our art and how we can help each other. If you are interested in participating or simply learning more, you can email convenciondetitiriteras@gmail.com

4. Poncili Creacion was in town for one night this month. Find out more about the work of this Puerto Rican theater company that creates surreal puppetry on their tumblr.

5. We were fortunate enough to see Ronnie Burkett’s amazing marionette show Penny Plain at the Kennedy Center (more of our thoughts here). For those interested in learning more about Burkett’s work, here’s an old interview from The Guardian.

6. Our favorite illustrator and key inspiration Shaun Tan has a new book out! It’s called Rules of Summer, read more about it on his website here.

October Grab Bag

Tan's sculpture for 'Hansel and Gretel' retold by Philip Pullman.

Tan’s sculpture for ‘Hansel and Gretel’ retold by Philip Pullman.

Because our show Cabinets of Kismet was inspired by him, I’m going to bring in the artist Shaun Tan as the subject of this month’s grab bag. A few beautiful, thought-provoking and wise items to view or listen to:

1. Shaun Tan theater! Featherwight Theatre is  a company of dancers and theater makers from England who presented The Red Tree  at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year. It was a beautiful adaptation, with many innovative and surprising ways of bringing Tan’s images and words to life. You can see a video and hear some of the original music on their website.

2. More Shaun Tan theater! Clearly there is consensus that Tan’s stories are compelling on the page and even more compelling when brought to life by actors, dancers and puppets. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, from Fremantle Australia, recently performed an adaptation of Tales from Outer Suburbia, a collection of Tan’s short stories.

3. A new book! Tan’s latest picture book, Rules of Summer was just published in Australia. A story of two brothers and the rules they learn, the book pairs simple phrases (‘Never leave a red sock on a clothesline’) with surreal oil paintings that provoke questions and ideas.

4. An interview about Rules of Summer is available to see here. Tan talks about his inspiration, and process in creating the book, as well as principles of storytelling and bookmaking in general.

5. Tan’s other new book is actually in German. Philip Pullman, the celebrated fantasy author, published a collection last year of his favorite fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm. His version of the stories has now been translated into German, illustrated with amazing sculptures by Tan. You can see photos of some of them and learn a little more about why he chose to create sculptures rather than paintings, here.