Thursday, August 13, 2015

National Puppetry Festival 2015 (University of Connecticut) -- Day 4

Thursday, August 13th

Faye, bends reflective plexiglass which projects a stunning animated white "shadow"

Contemporary Shadow Puppetry

Here is the description of the course:
Instructor: Faye Dupras
This workshop is a hands-on exploration of materials and methods used in contemporary shadow puppetry.  Participants will be given an opportunity to explore how the choice of lighting source and screen affects the visual vocabulary and storytelling possibilities of the form.
I was nervous when I approached the classroom where I will spend the next 2 mornings. We received a stack of paper in a folder and were asked to staple 10 different swatches of fabric to various sheets of note paper. I thought, "Yikes! Perhaps a little more academic than I am prepared for." Not so.
Our facilitator, Faye, is incredibly knowledgeable, generous and quite down to earth. When it seemed that several of use would be interested, she even arranged for the class to begin an hour earlier tomorrow morning to allow us to learn some construction techniques.

Also, I hadn't been sitting more than 5 minutes when I got to climb into this thing below. When inflated with a fan and lit from inside (by a gelled DeWalt flexible work light) it made a magical undersea shadow stage.
Bubble Kingdom -- Dyed Ripstop Nylon (parachute material)
As it turns out, I also really enjoyed looking at the many screen fabrics that she prepared, different light options behind each and analyzing the properties of each for unique benefits and hazards to puppetry. be continued...

2pm - The Crane Wife by: Margarita Blush

Based on the Japanese folk tale. The show is intended for all ages and features hand-crafted, bunraku-style puppets, masks, shadow imagery, and live music.

Very compelling. When animated, the human version of the crane (oops! spoiler) has one of the most striking faces I have ever seen on a puppet. There was a lot of subtlety in the puppetry. Great focus from the cast.

4pm - Mulan by: Chinese Theatre Works

Lots of different styles of puppetry in this one including some great fabric folding. Sadly, the clever creation of the fabric puppets is not shown in this video. 

6pm - BBQ and Tour of Puppetry Arts Complex

It was easy to believe that the watermelon was delicious. It was hard to believe the crazy workshop that they have for creating puppets.
Dept. Head's Office
There are 5 or 6 different workshops. Metal work, fabric and dying, painting, wood work... as well as practice space with floor to ceiling mirrors and "office" space which is clearly where all your project you are detailing reside.
One of my favourites

8pm - Icarus by: Liars and Believers

A full on musical from a devised theatre company. I quite enjoyed the modern take on the Icarus myth. Sometimes the puppets were integrated well and sometimes it felt as though they felt like adding another puppet sequence because, apparently puppets are "hot" right now.

The photo journal continues to grow...