Rehearsing Under the Canopy

In celebration of Under the Canopy, which opens tomorrow at the Athenaeum in Old Town Alexandria, VA here are some rehearsal photos:

The anchor point for the titular canopy, in the center of the stage.

The anchor point for the titular canopy, in the center of the stage.

One of the three ladders that make up the set with leaves, flowers and vines.

One of the three ladders that make up the set with leaves, flowers and vines.

Cast members Nora Achrati and Betsy Rosen work with the objects and puppets to bring the rainforest to life.

Cast members Nora Achrati and Betsy Rosen work with the objects and puppets to bring the rainforest to life.

January Grab Bag

A roundup of events and people we highlighted on Twitter this month: 

Giant flower from Under the Canopy.

Giant flower from Under the Canopy. See item #5.

1. The Kennedy Center is hosting a World Stages Festival this March and there will be PUPPETS! Handspring Puppet Company,  that created War Horse, is working on a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes from Canada is doing a show called Penny Plain. There will be puppets on display at the Kennedy Center that you can see for free. So yes. You should go.

2. Puppetry and activism are two of our favorite things. So even though we haven’t actually met in person, we’re big fans of The People’s Puppets of Occupy Wall Street. Hopefully one day we’ll get to work on something with them and maybe it will even involve giant puppet drops of water, like the ones you can see on their Facebook page.

3. All DC puppet fans should check out The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorerplaying at the Artisphere in Rosslyn from February 6-9. This is a heartwarming story about a deep-sea explorer in search of lost love, told through a combination of sound, puppetry and animation. Created by Weeping Spoon Productions from Perth, Australia, I saw this at the Edinburgh Fringe back in August and am looking forward to seeing it again.

4. Puppets in Prague is an amazing place to learn about marionettes (I did a workshop with them back in 2011) and they have a whole bunch of workshops going on this year. If you’re thinking about taking a trip to Prague (and really, why wouldn’t you be?) check them out.

5. Have we mentioned that we’re going to be at the Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival this year? With not one, but TWO shows? March will be here before you know it, so you should get moving and buy tickets for our pieces Under the Canopy and Fabulas MayasWith folktales, shadow puppets, and rainforest creatures, you really can’t go wrong!

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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So Much COLOR

Under the Canopy is going to be a very colorful show. Can you guess what each of these photos is a close-up of? There’s a slide show of the final objects (as they look right now, things could still change!) at the end.

1. IMG_1328IMG_13292.IMG_13313.IMG_1330 4.IMG_13325.
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Favorite Tool: Watercolor Pencils

IMG_1285I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile! For both our children’s shows this year, we were very specific about colors and having the right shades for each story and environment. Much of the time, our initial sketches and planning for puppets is done quickly with a basic pencil and paper, but lately Genna and Amy have been adding color with these watercolor pencils.

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What makes these different from regular colored pencils is the way you can brush over your picture with water to blend colors and create a smooth shade. We don’t always do that, but the colors add a lot to our puppet sketches, as you can see here.

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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.

Announcing INTERSECTIONS 2014!

IntersectionslogoWe are thrilled to announce that BOTH our collaborative projects this year will be presented as part of the Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival 2014!

Under the Canopy by Arts on the Horizon and Fabulas Mayas, co-produced with GALA Hispanic Theatre will each have multiple performances as part of the fifth year of INTERSECTIONS. This festival seeks to connect the broadest possible audience with the most exciting new ways of making community-inspiring art. With performances for all ages and audiences, from music to dance to circus to storytelling and new plays, there is truly something for everyone. Tickets go on sale January 9, so we hope you will join us at Atlas Performing Arts Center on H St. NE from February 21-March 8 to see our shows and some of the other amazing work at the festival. As we get closer, we will have more information here or you can also check out the festival website.