The Sixth Voice 4 Vision Puppet Festival (www.voice4vision.org) will be presented December 8 to 18, 2011 by Theater for the New City to celebrate the work of a unique group of New York artists who have been creating dynamic puppet theater for many years. Theater for the New City is dedicated to presenting cross-disciplinary theatrical works and to developing audiences that support local New York artists; this festival is wonderfully suited to that mission. Puppet theater artists Jane Catherine Shaw and Karen Oughtred are co-curators. "Hellzapoppin' Puppets" and "Puppet Art Attacks Slam" are curated by Honey Goodenough. The Puppet Gallery is curated by Spica Wobbe.
This festival is generously supported by the Jim Henson Foundation, the Puppet Slam Network and Handmade Puppet Dreams/IBEX INC
All audience members will receive a "Passport to Puppet Theater" at their first show in this festival, entitling them to $2 off tickets to each subsequent mainstage show they attend (Box Office sales only). Special offers to this festival are also available on www.nypuppets.org.
The festival is committed to supporting and encouraging the recognition of New York artists--both emerging and established --who are creating dynamic puppet theater. In fostering the development of their work and their audiences, the Festival also celebrates and promotes puppetry to New York audiences, who may never have attended a full length theatrical piece conceived for puppetry.
The Festival will feature various artists/companies in its mainstage shows running in repertory over the two weeks. This year the mainstage featured productions will be "Hudson to China" by Concrete Temple Theatre December 8-11, "A Life In Her Day" by Hilary Chaplain with Avner Eisenberg, directed by Avner Eisenberg December 8-11, "Senseless! A Brick Foley Adventure" by Elizabeth Hara December 15-18 and "Black Acre" by Retta Leaphart December 15-18. There will be two evenings with late-night turntables of short-form performances. "HellzaPoppinPuppets" on Saturday, December 10 at 10:30 PM will present clowning comedy, singing and other surprises as we look at how puppetry is performed in other genres of entertainment. "Puppet Art Attacks Slam" December 18 at 8:00PM will present short-form "works of genius" in a variety of puppet styles, from mini epics to performance poems.
Family entertainment will be provided in daytime shows on Saturdays and Sundays: "I Laid An Egg" by Double Image Theater Lab, "Little Red Riding Hood" by Wonderspark Puppets and a Puppet Making Workshop that is available to audiences attending either show (space limited to 15 children accompanied by parents or guardian).
There will be added attractions offering space and support to the puppetry community:
· Puppets On Film December 11 at 8PM: The festival will present discoveries of live puppetry in performance on film, including works collected by the Voice 4 Vision Puppet Festival and a new installment of Heather Henson's "Hand Made Puppet Dreams." $12.
· Panel On Puppetry December 17 at 3:00 PM: Carol Sterling, former Director of Education at Brooklyn Arts Council and President of UNIMA USA, will present "Puppetry in Education," followed by a panel on other topics TBA. Free Event.
· Gallery of Puppets on display an hour before shows throughout the festival, a lobby exhibition showcasing puppets by local artists in their vast and varied styles and perspectives and photos of puppets by national and international puppetry artists. Free Event;
All these events bring artists and audience together in exciting, "anything-goes" atmospheres that are spontaneous and revitalizing.
The Voice 4 Vision Puppet Festival has supported both established and emerging artists since its founding in 2006 and has grown into a joyous East Village reunion for the puppet theater community and a pointer to the most promising new artists coming on the scene.
Jane Catherine Shaw, who founded the festival with Sarah Provost, writes, "We have been seeking to create community amongst our peers in New York, to bring audiences together with emerging as well as established artists, and to provide a venue that will encourage artists to create full length works for puppetry for adult audiences. Without a venue to regularly produce full length works, many artists won't have an opportunity for the growth in their work that only comes by burning through the fire of creating a work and mounting it for audiences. We hope that over time, the Voice 4 Vision Puppet Festival will have ignited the impulse to excellence in these emerging artists."
EVENTS OF THE FESTIVAL
ADULT PUPPPET THEATER
W E E K O N E
"Hudson to China" by Concrete Temple Theatre
December 8-11, 2011: Thursday @ 7:30 PM, Friday @: 9:00 PM, Saturday @ 7:30 PM, Sunday @ 4:30 PM. $15/$13 with Passport to Puppet Theater.
The worlds of three very different dreamers collide in "Hudson to China," an elaborate toy theatre presentation that spills out, over, and around its boundaries, filling the entire stage with projections, puppetry, theatre, and live-music. Harry, an unemployed Wall Street Broker, dreams of success by literally conquering what he fears: China and its economy. Hua, a recent Chinese immigrant, struggles to find her place in the fast-paced life of New York City. Meanwhile, the Statue of Henry Hudson longs to finish his journey to the mythical Orient. On their journeys, the voyagers and the audience are challenged to question perceptions of China, capitalism, consumerism, and the universal human desire to succeed. Three puppeteer/actors are accompanied by Bob Goldberg, a one-man band, who plays the accordion and a multitude of percussion instruments.
Support for "Hudson to China" comes from a commission by the Hudson Opera House with funds from the New York State Council for the Arts as well as Concrete Temple Theatre's support from NYSCA and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in addition to a Jim Henson Foundation Project Grant and Dixon Place's Puppet Blok.
"A Life In Her Day" by Hilary Chaplain with Avner Eisenberg, directed by Avner Eisenberg
December 8-11, 2011. Thursday @ 9:00 PM, Friday @ 7:30 PM, Saturday @ 9:00 PM, Sunday @ 3:00 PM. $15/$13 with Passport to Puppet Theater.
Unconventional and outrageously funny, "A Life In Her Day" is a wonderful mix of found object puppetry, physical comedy and serious theater about a Jewish woman in her publicly shared private world. An original amalgam of Lucille Ball and Charlie Chaplin, Hilary Chaplain is a quirky physical comedienne who exposes her most intimate moments as she chases the elusive promises of happily ever after.
Audiences engage and participate in her wild theatrical antics and ultimately find themselves transported, moved and enriched by this extraordinary evening on the stage. In transforming simple objects into human companions, Hilary's character gets caught up in an alternate reality. While pouring a bowl of cereal, out pops a prize: a big diamond ring. From here a lifetime ensues in the course of an hour in a lovely and humorous portrait of a woman who wants the same thing as everyone else: to be loved. In the end, the audience is left with the sense that everything she needs can be created and that all she really needs is herself. Created by Hilary Chaplain with Avner Eisenberg, and directed by Avner Eisenberg.
Saturday, December 10 (one night only) @ 10:30 PM. $12
An evening of puppets, clowning comedy, singing and other surprises as we look at how puppetry is performed in other genres of entertainment. Hosted by Alissa Hunnicutt, the evening features three-to-seven minute pieces by performers including Jonathan Slaff ("The Adventures of Siggy and Carl"), Alissa Mello and Michael Kelly ("Le Musique a Vente"), Carla Rhodes ("Cecil Sinclair"), Carol Lee Sirugo ("Gwendolyn Rose Lee in Little Lamb"), Deborah Kaufman ("Buried Alive"), Laurie Berenhaus ("Ms Hopkins"), Beau Brown ("A Gay Man and His Horse"), WonderSpark ("Food Fight") and Therese Schorn ("Tuvelo The Amazing"). Curated by Honey Goodenough and Jane Catherine Shaw..
Puppets On Film
Sunday, December 11 @ 8PM (one night only). $12
A new genre featuring live puppetry in performance on film!
· "Handmade Puppet Dreams," curated by Heather Henson, returns with all new short works (details TBA as of this writing, visit www.voice4vision.org for updates).
· "The Tell Tale Heart" by Lynne Cohen. Edgar Allen Poe's chilling story is seen from the perspective of the protagonist in a world inhabited entirely by puppets. Winner of the Director's Choice Award in the Independents' Film Festival, Best Experimental Short Award at the Atlanta Horror Film Festival And a Remi Award from the Worldfest International Film Festival in Houston, Texas. Lynne Cohen is an actress and filmmaker based in NYC.
· Other films TBA.
W E E K T W O
"Senseless! A Brick Foley Adventure" by Elizabeth Hara
December 15-18, 2011, Thursday @ 9:00 PM, Friday @ 7:30 PM, Saturday @ 9:00PM, Sunday @ 3:00 PM. $15/$13 with Passport to Puppet Theater.
A pair of shoes walk across the table. We hear the squeak of the rubber soles as the child skips along with his dog, whose nails click on the wooden floor. A gloved hand appears, holding a gun. Shots ring out. These foley sound effects bring to life the found object puppetry in this noir detective story, which is told both aurally and visually, intertwining sight and sound to build suspense.
We begin with a series of murders at the Helen Keller School of Music. The poor kids- both blind and deaf- never saw it coming. Officer Murphy brings in his old partner to help crack the case. Detective Brick Foley, himself blind, bitter, and drunk, sees this as his last chance to redeem himself- and possibly win the heart of music teacher Jane Allgood.
The story plays with all the conventions of classic noir radio--femmes fatales, hard-boiled slang, slapstick sound effects--and uses them to create recognizable but absurd characters. The puppets--a combination of shoes, hats, glasses, and gloves--incorporate sound effect props to imply space and describe the rich environment they inhabit.
"Black Acre" by Retta Leaphart
December 15-18, 2011, Thursday @ 7:30 PM, Friday @ 9:00 PM, Saturday @ 7:30 PM, Sunday @ 4:30 PM. $15/$13 with Passport to Puppet Theater.
The central, generative images for this piece are three types of bodies and the different plagues they endure: a human figure, battling with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an apple tree from an orchard, afflicted with Fire Blight, and the landscape of Montana which is being rapidly destroyed by the Mountain Pine Beetles (Bark Beetles). Puppetry conveys the freedom to combine and transfer images from one body to another; using the image of the Mountain Pine Beetle to demonstrate the destruction of a human body.
All of the objects in the story are found materials and tools/items that would be seen in a General Mercantile, or in the shed of an orchard. The final major element is the live sound and music. Throughout the piece, two musicians use the objects seen on stage (jars, oil cans, wire, wood, etc.) to create an ambient track for this visually complex and rich new work for puppetry.
Panel On Puppetry
December 17 @ 3:00 PM, Free!
Carol Sterling, former Director of Education at Brooklyn Arts Council, and former UNIMA USA president, will present "Puppetry in Education." followed by a panel on other topics. TBA. Family audiences are encouraged to stay for this talk after the preceding matinee.
Puppet Art Attacks Slam
Sunday, December 18 at 8:00PM (one night only), $12.
Short works of genius in a mind-blowing variety of puppet styles, hosted by Jane Catherine Shaw. New York's innovative artists bring on the short form; from mini epics to performance poems, all in three to seven minutes. This is the closing celebratory Puppet Slam where audiences and artists come together to close the Festival!
Performers to include: Alissa Hunnicutt ("Christmas Angel"), Caitlin Shirts ("After Waterloo"), Charlie Del Risco ("Swann Song"), Honey Goodenough ("Sweet Dreams"), Leat Klingman ("Wolfy"), Madison J. Cripps ("The Head"), Margot Fitzsimmons and Spica Wobbe ("A Chance Shadow"), Marshall Katzmann ("Mortal Danger" or "But He Was Cool"), Marta Mozelle MacRostie ("Nothing Compares to You"), Peter Musante ("When Doves Cry"), Spencer Lott ("The Last Bamboo"), Tom Getchell ("Hope for Hono" and "Life Line"), Travis Lope ("Enchanted Valley Set").
B O T H W E E K S
"I Laid An Egg" by Double Image Theater Lab
Saturdays and Sundays, December 10 & 11 and 17 & 18 @ 11:00 AM. $10.00 Adults and $7.00 for Children. Great for children up to 8 years.
By using the elements of Shadow Theater, Object Theater, music and a dialogue between an Egg and a Baby, the show will bring the audience into a child's imaginary world.
"Little Red Riding Hood" by Wonderspark Puppets
Saturdays and Sundays, December 10 & 11 and 17 & 18 @ 1:00PM. $10.00 Adults and $7.00 for Children. Great for children 5 to 9 years.
Little Red is sent into the big woods to deliver a basket of goodies to her sick Grandmother, but is hounded by a hungry wolf who wants the basket for himself. Will Little Red be able to outsmart the wolf and save her Grandmother?
Puppet Making Workshop
Saturdays and Sundays, December 10 & 11 and 17 & 18. Time: 12:00 PM-12:45 PM. Add a puppet making workshop to your theater outing!
For an additional charge of $3.00 per child, you can make your own puppet. Add the workshop to your show ticket. Space is limited to 15 children with a parent or guardian. Stay after "I Laid An Egg" or come early before "Little Red Riding Hood" to participate in this workshop.
Open one hour before each show, FREE
This year Spica Wobbe joined Jane Catherine Shaw to curate the Puppet Gallery.
The focus is on design and the festival has invited puppeteers of NYC to show their puppets in the Gallery. The festival has also asked national and international puppetry artists to send photos of their work to include in the gallery. This is a way to create bridges and networks, to nourish our community and to explore the visual/material culture of puppetry and puppet design.
For a preview of the exhibition, visit: http://www.jsnyc.com/season/v4vgallery.htm.