Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Canada Council Grant - Happy Dance

Wendy and Karin formed an Ad Hoc Group and submitted a proposal for support by the Canada Council for the Arts.
We heard recently that we have been granted a whopping great grant to work further on the show.  We will still continue to fundraise since the grant wont cover everything.... but we are so grateful.
It was beginning to look as if the project was doomed!  Now, with summer approaching and Wendy being free from in-school residencies and shows, not to mention the Puppet Power: International Conference on Applied Puppetry that she organized.... and has just happened.  
We are now ready to power-up once more on this project.

Thank you again Canada Council for the Arts

Monday, 19 February 2018

Soundscapes Composed by AI

It might be worthwhile considering what Artificial Intelligence can bring to our show.  
Machines Creating Music
Image sourced from
Today AI is creating musical compositions in collaboration with human programming.
Check out the way such sounds are produced here., watch the video on that webpage to help understand the procedure.
And here is a composition "Genesis Symphonic Fantasy in A minor, Op 21, created by AIVA (Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist), from Aiva Technologies.  Perhaps a scene in the latter part of show calls out for music that has been created by a human and an artificial intelligence...
See what you think.

Here is what one commenter on YouTube said...

I think people fail to realize, how much knowledge it took someone to have about musical theory & programming; this isn't an easy feat; it had to first be taught the process by a human, however it will be able to create endless scores like this now & maybe even improve them..

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Theatre Costumes

The costumes for this show have been sourced, created and donated.
Faux leather coat from Value Village - became a cope for The Priestess
A fabulous donation of a true leather, brown, gored skirt with bead detail from Wear Else, was destined to become a worn out leather apron for The Slavedriver.

And many and diverse materials were amalgamated to become steam punk, Victoriana, or futuristic elements for the show.

Here is part of a story board of Skirt to Apron for The Slavedriver.
With many thanks to Elaine Senkpiel on Saltspring Island who made the donation of leather for this item.

John Shepherd,  shoe maker and leather-craftsman on Saltspring, has all the great machinery and tools that I wish I had ... but he isn't averse to helping out a fellow stitcher.
Thank you to  Shepherd Shoes
And so he riveted (did I just make a verb out of a noun, Oh horror! Or had someone already done that?) and the apron was finished and handed over to Wendy, for her to distress - possibly from the back of her car on the way back to Calgary from Duncan.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Shadow Puppet Eye Candy

It's timeless and ageless:
We can hardly stop ourselves from making shadow puppets with our hands if we find ourselves placed between a light source and a blank wall... think cuddly bunny made from ones fingers.
Shown below is a species of Genus 394Wz - in shadow puppet form.
Audience participation is a prominent part of the show.  It is requested and generally given freely.  The messages presented are thereby far more deeply considered by the participants than if they were sitting, sleepily, in comfy chairs allowing the drama unfold around them rather than engaging fully with the show's plot.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Musical Gifts

It is one thing to be able to create wonderful music and yet another to gift it to someone you don't even know.  There are - for I have found them - many fantastic people in the world today, quite contrary to the general mood around us.

Thank you Georgi Dimitrov "Chubry"has allowed us use of his music  Georgi plays the Qanun - go  here to listen and download.
Our Arabian Scholar, Abu bin Saiid, will never have felt more at home !

As if that were not enough - Hugh Conings a jazz drummer from B.C. has agreed to create a drum with flute piece for us.  And Edmond Van Putte who spreads the word about The Netherlands has given us a soundscape for the Work Horse animatronics.  Thanks Hugh and Edmond.

And there is more... Our own Saltspring Island gal, Nikki Menard - will play the Hang drum to evoke a calm, spiritual well-being in the Priestess' Temple.  It is going to be great Nikki, Thank you.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

A cope for the Priestess

Technique for ornamenting cope
There are amazing resources to be had at Value Village.
This fabric was once a full-length coat in synthetic suede - in a light ecru.
Being synthetic it  allowed me to avoid working on real skin which I have an aversion to.
It was also perfect to use fire-heated irons to burn symbols into the fabric  to embellish a cope for  The Priestess  - a technique that may well have been available to people in the age that she lived.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Playing with the Definitions of Puppetry:

There is really no ‘normal puppetry’, ​

particularly when you consider its wide definition:  The animation of the inanimate object in front of an audience. However with EMP we’re proposing to stretch even further.
‘Usually’ the puppet is an object – found or created, that is animated by the puppeteer through strings, sticks or whatever. In EMP we have reversed this role of puppet and puppeteer. 
Our ‘puppets’ are static figureheads. During each scene a ‘life force’ is transferred from the figurehead to the actor – via the donning of a cloak, hat or neck ornament a physical representation of the puppet.  The actor then ‘becomes’ the puppet and performs what the puppet would do if it could.
On a practical level this means fine motor tasks that need to be done, have been simplified using human hands etc. 
On a philosophical level we explore ideas of symbols and icons, free will - people as puppets in their own destinies. 
On an actor level this presents some challenges that we work through. How does acting as an actor or a mime artist and acting as a puppet differ? How would our figureheads/puppets move if they could? These are great pithy questions for Wendy, our performer, and for our director when we  rehearse more deeply.

A good schematic of this way of working is captured by the Puppeteers of America logo (See above). For more info on this useful and inspiring organization please see here.