Sneak Peek

A description of the bean-nighe, one of the folklore characters we're researching.

A description of the bean-nighe, one of the folklore characters we’re researching.

Our next devised piece is inspired by the vast treasure trove of British and Celtic folklore and especially the supernatural creatures usually known as fairies. Thanks to a number of cultural factors (most prominently, Disney), we have a tendency to think of fairies as tiny and pretty, with sparkles, wings and magic wands. According to tradition however, they are far stranger and more dangerous. For centuries, people feared the fairies, calling them a number of euphemistic names (the Good Folk, the gentry, the Little Poeple) to avoid drawing their attention. To be suspected of dealing with fairies or being related to them led to persecution and on occasion, injury and death. Where did these beliefs come from? What are the rules for dealing with fairies and what happens when we break them? What does that say about our fears, hopes and wishes as humans? These are all questions we will be exploring as we begin to build puppets and create performance material in preparation for a workshop in June. We hope you will join us for the journey!

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We’re Back!

Mariona, the mascot of TOPIC.

Mariona, the mascot of TOPIC.

We are back! Did you miss us? It was a fantastic summer of work, travel and getting to see some amazing puppetry in four different countries. But now that it is fall, we are hard at work in DC, designing, building and rehearsing for the world premiere of Fábulas Mayas with GALA Hispanic Theatre. You can find out more about the play here, and there will be posts coming soon with pictures of our work and the puppets as we finish them. Not to mention more information about our upcoming collaboration with Arts on the Horizon, puppet workshops in schools and getting started on research for our next full-length show…SO MUCH GOING ON.

Puppet created by Basque company Txotxongillo Taldea.

Puppet created by Basque company Txotxongillo Taldea.

I saw many beautiful puppets on my wanderings this summer and I wish I had been able to take better pictures. I probably had the most success in Tolosa, a little town in northern Spain outside of Donostia-San Sebastian. The Tolosa Puppets International Center (TOPIC) is located there and it’s also just a beautiful place, between green hills and a blue river. The puppets in these photos were made by the company Txotxongillo Taldea, a Basque puppet company that performs plays in Euskara, the Basque language. They have been involved with TOPIC since the founding of the center and created Mariona, the puppet character that acts as the building’s mascot. If you are ever in Spain, check out TOPIC and their wonderful exhibits!