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In 1962, Ellen Stewart invited puppet artists from Korea to perform their production of Head Hunting by Pagoon Kang Wouk. This began La MaMa's long love affair with all things puppetry. The form has been an integral part of La MaMa's artistic vision ever since. The La MaMa Puppet Series showcases new contemporary puppet theatre by American and international artists in all three of La MaMa's theaters. La MaMa's Denise Greber curates:
Crane: on earth, in sky: November 5-8
Shank's Mare: November 6-15
Puppet Slam: November 11
The Child Who: November 12-15
Undefined Fraction: November 19 - 29
No Need For A Night Light On A Light Night Like Tonight: November 19 - 22
I Laid An Egg: November 14-15
Heather Henson/IBEX Puppetry Workshop: November 7 - 8
Punschi: November 21 - 22
Théâtre d'un Jour's The Child Who is inspired by the early years of the life of sculptor Jephan de Villiers. It is the vision, all sensibility and poetry, of a child who faces an earth, a humanity, endlessly scorned by man. Straddling the real world and the imagination in a game of constant appearance and disappearance, the narrative is discovered through the experience of a child, contrary to the expectations of the world. An arresting visceral poem, The Child Who articulates the dangerous silences of the human condition.
Journey with whooping cranes and black neck cranes along the waterways they use for maps in this spectacle of environmental theatre. Reflecting our connectedness with all of creation, this immersive story is told through rituals and puppets, projections and kites, aerial antics and life-sized maps. Tracing the tragedies befalling cranes, of disappearing forests and lakes, this story celebrates the richness of indigenous cultures from around the globe that honor and protect these majestic birds. Ancient sounds of elemental forces resound in this holistic sensory experience.
Irondale presents The Independent Eye theatre ensemble's inspired two-person vision of William Shakespeare's King Lear. Played out within the confines of an aluminum cage, King Lear and The Fool are accompanied by nearly 30 life-sized, hand, and finger puppets operated by actors and master puppeteers Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller.
King Lear is the puppeteer of his own puppet show, obsessively playing out his loss of family, power, friendship, shelter, sanity, and hope. In his mind, he is the only real human in his motherless kingdom of power and commodity, where love is merchandise for barter. The Fool, an acid clown who goads Lear in his desperation, stage-manages his story until they both succumb to Lear's madness. This stunning two-person take on King Lear puts an ingenious spin on The Bard's tragic tale of power and distorted love.
St. Ann's Puppet Lab, which is celebrating its 18th anniversary, is an experimental haven for puppet theater. The Labapalooza! Festival embraces a variety of new puppetry works developed in the Lab over the course of a year, presented in two Programs A and B. This year's festival artists explore the life-long friendship of Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray; hitch a ride on a dirigible; follow a humble dot on a journey for independence; and bring a National Geographic episode to the stage.
Created By Maiko Kikuchi
Based on familiar tongue twisters, No Need For A Night Light On A Light Night Like Tonight is an experiment between text and design. Aimless idioms are tucked in and re-purposed, only to be reborn as strange dreams. Although the piece employs sophisticated shadow puppets, curious animation, and elaborate headpieces, its genre remains the ordinary condition of aimlessness.
When the the prosperous town of Hamelin is suddenly overrun with rodents, can a mysterious stranger lure the pests away with only a simple song? From the twitch of a rat's tail to the grandiose proclamations of a greedy mayor, this retelling of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale features the intricate craftsmanship of over 120 exquisite marionettes (and 300 puppet rats!). From Milan's famed Carlo Colla & Sons Marionette Company (Sleeping Beauty, New Vic 2013), 19th century artistry takes center stage in this visually-stunning production.
The Daisy Theatre is puppeteer Ronnie Burkett, who manipulates and voices a dynamic entourage of marionettes in a variety of acts ranging from opera to cabaret, and vaudeville to Vegas. A rotating cast of forty characters includes singer Rosemary Focaccia, marionette ventriloquist Meyer Lemon, chanteuse Jolie Jolie, and the beloved fairy child Schnitzel.
Shank's Mare is the story of two wandering travelers whose paths intersect in time and space. Using traditional kuruma ningyo puppetry, live feed video projection, miniature sets and a live score by Bill Ruyle (hammer dulcimer) and Chieko Hara (shamisen and flute), the piece explores life and death and how tradition is passed on.
Created By Tom Lee and Koryu Nishikawa V, Shank's Mare is the story of two wandering travelers whose paths intersect in time and space. Using traditional kuruma ningyo puppetry, live feed video projection, miniature sets and a live score by Bill Ruyle (hammer dulcimer) and Chieko Hara (shamisen and flute), this world premier piece explores life and death and how tradition is passed on.
The world premiere of internationally acclaimed director/puppeteer Basil Twist's Sisters' Follies: Between Two Worlds celebrates the founders of the Abrons' Playhouse.
A star falls from the evening sky and so begins Pretzel's incredible journey. A most chivalrous worm if ever there was one, he must climb a spider's thread, cross the chamber of dreams and explore the ocean depths to restore the star to its rightful place. Ingenious puppets of all sizes and a fabulous musical score animate an unforgettable adventure in Théâtre de l'Œil's The Star Keeper.
Tracing patterns of inequality, the play reflects on justice, guilt, punishment, and the conflict between free will and fate. The underlying philosophical question is of whether the so-called real world is actually an illusion, a dream from which we will wake some day. And if this is indeed some kind of test where our true character will be revealed when we die, how should we act here and now?