Backstage at Kismet

Each performance of Cabinets of Kismet moves quickly and there is little time to stand still or relax. Everyone is constantly picking up puppets, shifting set pieces, prepping puppets or props or lights and getting into place. But I did manage to sneak my phone backstage last week and take a few snaps of the silliness that ensues in our idle seconds. Amie loves Text Monster, as you can see in these photos:

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Amie indicating that all puppets are ready to go.

Amie making a face at paperfish. 

Waiting with Widget behind a unit.

Waiting with Widget behind a unit.

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting for the video sequence to finish, in the light of the projector.

Waiting for the video sequence to finish, in the light of the projector.

 

 

 

Kismet Photos

Only one weekend left to see The Amazing and Marvelous Cabinets of Kismet! We recommend buying tickets online–we have a relatively small number of seats and would hate to have you miss out. I’m excited to be able to share some of our beautiful production photos todaytaken by C. Stanley Photography!

Kismet, discovering that his world has been destroyed.

Kismet, discovering that his world has been destroyed.

Puppeteer Amie Root, with Lightbulb Head.

Puppeteer Amie Root, with Lightbulb Head.

Matt Reckeweg and Genna Davidson, with Kismet and Jellybird.

Matt Reckeweg and Genna Davidson, with Kismet and Jellybird.

Puppeteers Amy Kellett, Cecilia Cackley and Genna Davidson, with Nurse, Zoom and King Lamp.

Puppeteers Amy Kellett, Cecilia Cackley and Genna Davidson, with Nurse, Zoom and King Lamp.

 

 

Press Mentions

Kismet hitches a ride on Jellybird. Photo by C. Stanley Photography

Kismet hitches a ride on Jellybird.                     Photo by C. Stanley Photography

The Amazing and Marvelous Cabinets of Kismet has been getting attention in both print and online media, thanks to interested writers and some very kind reviewers! Below, a selection of mentions from the past few weeks.

Jacqueline Lawton, one of D.C.’s most accomplished dramaturges and playwrights, was kind enough to profile us on her blog.

Stephanie Merry of The Washington Post Weekend section, wrote a fantastic preview article about Kismet.

Reviews have been coming in over the past week from DC Theatre Scene, Maryland Theater Guide, DC Metro Theater Arts and The Washington Post.

Check back soon for a post on some of the comments we’ve been hearing from audiences!

 

Puppet Workshop Announcement!!

scrap logoThe Amazing and Marvelous Cabinets of Kismet is a project that happened because a group of artists all read books by Shaun Tan and were inspired to create a new story. We hope that watching our puppet play inspires other people to create their own stories as well. To help that process along, we are thrilled to be able to present a PUPPET-MAKING WORKSHOP on Sunday, May 12 in collaboration with SCRAP DC.

Directly after the 2pm show, Karen Klein and Heather Bouley from SCRAP will lead a workshop on making puppets from recycled materials. This workshop is for all ages and is a perfect activity for families to do together. There are only 25 spots in the workshop due to space limitations, so buy your tickets today!

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 Cecilia Cackley

Last in our series of short interviews with the puppeteers of The Amazing and Marvelous Cabinets of Kismet. All photos are by Sarah Gingold.  

Cecilia operating the Lightbulb puppet.

Cecilia operating the Lightbulb puppet.

Bio: Cecilia Cackley has been experimenting with puppets for more than ten years. As a puppeteer, she has worked with GALA Hispanic Theatre, the O’Neill Puppetry Festival, the Avignon Off and the Source Theater Festival. Cecilia has directed for the Capital Fringe Festival, Young Playwright’s Theater, Rorschach Theatre and The Inkwell. She taught third grade in the public schools for six years and currently works as a teaching artist in Washington DC. Cecilia is a proud company member of GALA Hispanic Theatre and Young Playwright’s Theater.

When did you first become interested in puppetry?

My mother actually collects puppets as art, so they were always around the house and I could play with them. I remember making up little shows with marionettes from Mexico when I was 8 or 9. I started taking puppet workshops when I was about 14 and when I got to college I tried to find ways of incorporating them into plays I wrote or directed.

Cecilia and Mophead.

Cecilia and Mophead.

What is the most unusual puppet or puppet show you’ve worked on?

I made a puppet of a giant mouth out of poly-foam when I was 14 and part of a teen puppet troupe. It was part of a set of puppets that formed a massive face when we all stood together. We created it for an outside community event and I got to run through the crowd asking “Where is my nose? Where is my eye?” It was lots of fun.

Which is your favorite puppet to perform in Cabinets of Kismet? 

I’ve been getting more and more interested in marionettes lately, so I really like the paperfish, who hang from multiple strings. I’ve never seen a marionette made from paper before, so it’s been fun to figure out how to attach them and make them move. In general, I love all the paper puppets; they are so quiet and calm.

Meet Puppeteer Genna Davidson

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

Genna with King Lamp and Swirl Dancer.

Genna with King Lamp and Swirl Dancer.

Bio: Genna Davidson is a Washington DC based actress, puppeteer and musician. She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2008 with a BA in Theatre. In addition to Wit’s End Puppets, she has performed with The Hub Theatre, dog & pony dc, Deviated Theatre, The Bay Theatre Company, as well as workshop productions with the Rude Mechanicals (Austin, TX), 500clown (Chicago) and various local devised-theatre ensembles.

When did you first start working with puppets?

I was nineteen, in college at the University of Maryland. There was a show being done with Bunraku style puppets and they knew no one would have any experience so they held an audition and taught us what to do. It was a very in-depth process, which was nice.

Genna with Nurse and Kismet.

Genna with Nurse and Kismet.

What is the most unusual puppet or puppet show you’ve worked on?

This one! Actually, in high school I didn’t realize it, but I did a puppetry production of Flatland with my best friend at the time. We had to turn a  book into an interactive presentation and we had wanted to just release a bunch of butterflies (for A Hundred Years of Solitude) but butterflies were too expensive so we did Flatland instead with cardboard and a basketball. Looking back I realize that they were actually puppets.

Which puppet is your favorite to perform in Cabinets of Kismet? 

King Lamp, because I think he’s challenging and I just love the fact that he thinks he’s a king and therefore he is. But he really doesn’t have power over any other puppet. He gets to hitch a ride on another puppet.  And he can do cartwheels!

Meet Puppeteer Amy Kellett

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

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Amy operating the paper puppet Frank.

Bio: Amy is delighted to be puppeteering with Wit’s End Puppets in this production! Some of the other companies/festivals she has performed with as a puppeteer or human in the MD/DC area include The Puppet Co., Source Festival, Landless Theater, Madcap Players and Bay Theatre Company.

When did you first become interested in puppetry?

I don’t know…I guess the first time I really thought about performing puppets was when I auditioned for The Puppet Co. in Glen Echo, MD. It was a big learning experience and my first interaction with people who were professional puppeteers and knew how to build cool things.

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Amy and Kismet.

Probably this one. Most of the other stuff I’ve done has been more straightforward. This is the first devised puppet show I’ve ever worked on; other shows have been already written before we started. This is also the first time I’ve ever worked with found object puppets in a show.

Which is your favorite puppet to perform in Cabinets of Kismet? 

Bully is my favorite because he can do lots of things with his arms, which are magnets. He can pick up and hold lots of things, which I find useful. He’s also fairly mobile, so he can move lots of places.

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.