Pennings aka general blog

Aaron Burr Sketches

No, these are not the sketches found in the basement of a New York bar (which has to remain nameless until negotiations between the bar, NYC, NYS, Chase Bank, and other interested parties make a formal, public presentation of this early American treasure) during the preperation for Hurricane Sandy.

They are, however, a couple sketches that I made after having a chance to view this material.  While remaining as faithful as possible to the original 1804 stage plans (which I was able to view) as far as the elements staged in the original production, these plans are intended as the basis of puppet adaptation that production.  Very little remains of O'Toole's late career puppetry, so confirmation of accuracy regarding the recreation of O'Toole's late career puppetry is, at this time impossible to verify.

Despite the current lack of access to these archives, I feel that this is the start of a re-creation of a stage and a show that would honor both Otis O'Toole's original theatrical production as well as his later puppet work.


Above, we see the stage of the original (and doomed) 1804 production of Aaron Burr - A Ballet Opera adapted to a toy theater setting.  Artifacts indicate that O'Toole utilized both toy theater and table-top puppetry during his time performing Burr's story in the taverns of NYC later in his life when he resurrected the opera on a smaller scale, both visually and musically.  Below is a detail of the Baby Aaron element, which uses modern solid state lighting to achieve the glow described by one of the few to view the scene on the big stage as appearing "not as a prop dropping from the rafters of playhouse, but as a gift descending from Heaven itself, its halo glowing with an ephemeral radiance that awed all in attendance and made even the Deists among us weep for the chance to witness such glory, both tender and grand".