Photo by Alex Griffin
Rest in Peace Jane Henson - I was 18 and attending my first O'Neill
Puppetry Conference, I had just finished performing a late night solo act in the pub and Richard Termine pulled me aside saying; "I'd like you to meet Jane Henson." Puppet in hand I sat at Jane's table and Richard introduced me with a splendid intro, mentioning that in high school I had started a puppetry club/troupe - to which she responded; "Oh!...Like Jim..." Dry mouthed and nervous as could be with adrenaline pumping I stammered out some words. Jane so welcoming and soothing asked; "When did you start doing puppetry?" My answer - like many puppeteers - was 5 years old, to which she replied; "What did you do before?" One of the best questions ever, because what is puppetry but the natural human tendency to play with and personify dolls, toys and inanimate objects. At that moment I didn't have a reply, but it didn't matter because she turned her attention to the puppet on my hand (whom I had kept active like a good puppeteer) and started asking him questions and engaged in a conversation with this character that I had only begun to develop. A great end to a marvelous and inspiring evening and the perfect beginning to a life changing conference. Thank you Richard for the introduction and Thank you Jane Henson for your time, attention, energy and focus.
Henson Co. Tribute Link
Marygrove Awning came to me with an idea for a series of commercials and print ads for Spring & Summer 2013. They wanted to have fun with this string of ads and were interested in having a sun costume designed and fabricated. I got to work creating sketches and mock-ups for the sun character to be played by long time Dick Purtan radio show character actor Big Al. This project was a lot of fun to work on and there are several more sun spots coming up - pun intended! The ads started playing on March 20th, 2013 - the first day of Spring! ... That was a nice touch.
I am teaching a class titled, "Puppetry 101" at the Plymouth Community Arts Council in Plymouth, Michigan. The class will take place once a week, starting Saturday, October 22nd and ending Saturday, December 8th.
Class Description: How can an inanimate object come to life before your very eyes? This class offers students experimentation in the many styles of puppetry with an emphasis on how technique translates to effective characters and storylines. Puppetry is a great medium for the live theatre artist because it combines all aspects of the craft, - design, construction, performance and technical arts – it has been a part of theatre since theatre began. Class is limited to 10 students. No previous puppetry experience necessary.
The National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center is a very important place where new works of puppetry is created. The conference is for everyone, from seasoned professionals to beginners, both looking to explore and learn.
This year (2012) I was on staff, assisting Martin P. Robinson teach a class in "Puppet Exploration."
** Description of the class from the Martin P. Robinson/the O'Neill website;
The Puppeteers Touch... The Objects Profundity
We Puppeteers know the magic that happens when a performer picks up or puts on a puppet of some kind and starts moving it in space before an audience. Too often, I feel, we rely on this novelty aspect of puppetry to carry the day. We don't buckle down to do our homework, to know our instrument in an intimate way so as to let the character and story shine through. Would any musician with only a passing knowledge of their instrument (or even a fairly good knowledge) attempt a concert for a paid audience? ...Puppeteers do this ALL the time.
I propose a week of experimentation in many styles of puppetry with an emphasis on exactly how well-thought-out technique translates to effective characters and storylines... a respect for the objects and a respect for the audience. I would like participants with some performing experience...applications will be reviewed with this in mind. Mostly, of course...all admonishing and profundity aside; I just want to have a blast with some cool people for a week...
- Martin P. Robinson
** Below is a video with Artistic Director Pam Arciero
In the video at the 0:11 mark, is footage of my project "s'Muther," which I workshopped as a participant project at the O'Neill in 2010.
** From the Highways Performance Space Website;
"Inspired by Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire and Alan Lightman’s novel Einstein’s Dreams, this an original multi-disciplinary performance investigates the gap between a current reality and an ethereal existence. In the process, it evokes the vulnerability and tenacity of the human spirit."
Directed by Sam Shay, this story told through dance and art performed at Highways Performance Space & Gallery in Santa Monica, May 3 - 5.
Chase designed and built two bird puppets for the show.
Here is the Official Website for the show.
Below is the show's trailer,
The website for a pilot TV program I worked on named Imaginus Zoo is now live!
From the site; "Imaginus Zoo takes place aboard a contemporary space station with built-in ecosystems. Our satellite ark includes artificial habitats like the arctic, jungles, desserts and oceans. Each habitat always seems to be on the verge of catastrophe, but luckily the IZoo crew saves the day.
The band of animals is led by Memo, a cute teddy bear with special powers who strives to make the world a better place. With sci-fi absurdist humor, the Imaginus Zoo crew’s hilarious space adventures never cease to entertain. Though the journeys are full of laughs, they teach viewers valuable life lessons along the way.
As our heroic animals soar across our solar system, they will encounter robots, aliens and new friends on their missions. The young audience will learn fundamental life skills for the developing mind– while occasionally being introduced to advanced ecological, scientific and technological concepts. Our stories possess something of value for us all!"
I had several duties on this production such as; lead puppet designer/performer and co-writer.
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