I make puppet theater in ways which I understand and are supported by my abilities. Specifically,
I Write stories to be told with puppets.
I came to puppetry through story telling. Specifically I had a story that I had told a few times. It was a funny, weird story. It was a story that I had made up. However, when I told it, people believed it as a true story. This was understandable, because it was framed in the first person. But, it didn't sit too well with me for a few reasons. First, I didn't want folks to believe that I, as the child described in the story was quite as as mal-adjusted as the character presented. Second... it just felt like a lie. Finally, my ego bristled a bit, because if people like the story, I wanted credit for having made it up, not just simply having lived it. Then, I was introduced to puppetry, where real and imagined, fact and fiction became a bit blurry and intermingled.
No one believes that squid can talk in real life, but if a squid talks in a puppet show, we think nothing of it. A reality is created through the puppetry and the audience's willingness to say "yes". On the other hand, the very nature of puppets is that are objects being manipulated to represent other things (cloth and sticks become people or dragons). Within the confines of the show, my story was true. Outside of the show, its veracity was irrelevant.
I have performed that story as a puppet show a few times over the years. Since making it a puppet show, no one has asked whether it is a "true story".
I construct puppets to tell those stories
paper. fabric. plastic. wood. metal. raw materials or found objects. whatever suits the story. controlled by hand directly, or with the aid of sticks, strings, overhead projectors, magnets or the bodies of others.
Here are a few examples of the things I have made over the years.
I build puppets for the stories of others
and I make space for puppeteers to tell their stories
Although Blood From a Turnip is currently on hiatus, collaborations have not ceased. Neither has trying to make space for myself and others to tell their stories though whatever media is deemed appropriate.
You can click on the image to left to see a bit more of the puppetry I helped support through Blood From a Turnip, which was started by Vanessa Gilbert and Jeremy Woodward and supported by Perishable Theater and the Puppet Slam Network
You can get a bit more info on the Blood From a Turnip page
I worked with Vanessa Gilbert on a showing of Everlasting Itch, a solo performance of Moby Dick written by Patty Thomas. We worked with digital projections and shadow puppetry. Also in New Bedford and once again with Vanessa Gilbert and working with digital projections shadow puppetry, I updated and remounted Serve Protect Occupy, which is a response to the militarization of police in our country that I first developed at the National Puppetry Conference at Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Ct. For this project, we were joined by Stuart Window of Providence by way of London. Jeremy Fortier, also of Providence but by way of Athens, Ga. was along for the voyage to New Bedford with Vanessa, Stuart and myself when we presented a new ghost story with sea shanties called A Haunting on Buzzards Bay.This tale of lost love, occupational hazards and gentrification has also played around Providence a few times, most notably the PVD Festival, where it was broadcast onto the Jumbotron.