Laser Beak Man flies high!

I'm writing this on my front porch in Brisbane, Australia as we're about to head in to our second week of performances. What a ride it's been! Finally, after three years of workshops, the production is up and running and I couldn't be happier. This is such a big show! We have flying orbs and a full stage of LED screens and 30 or so puppets so many silly voices and too many jokes. It's really been amazing to hear people's responses to the show. I'm most proud of the fact that, despite the huge spectacle of this show, audiences are really latching on to the genuine story that drives the whole thing. It's a very special show and I can't wait to keep doing it for the next two weeks.

Check out some of our great reviews:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arts/stage/laser-beak-man-heroic-puppetry-with-punch/news-story/78087103b0be2e042a80886b346183bd

http://theconversation.com/laser-beak-man-busts-the-fourth-wall-and-blows-minds-with-superheroic-puppetry-84045

http://www.australianstage.com.au/201709168424/reviews/brisbane/laser-beak-man-%7C-la-boite-and-dead-puppet-society.html

https://scenestr.com.au/arts/laser-beak-man-la-boite-theatre-review-20170916

Ice Cream, Whiskey, Swimming Holes and puppets!

What a good month it's been here in Salem, NY. I've been up here for the month performing and assistant directing Mettawee River Theatre Company's production "Before the Sun and Moon". It's always so lovely to spend the summer here. The scenery is so beautiful. This year we had a big bull who kept wandering on to our property!

The show is going extremely well. The audiences up here are really wonderful. What more could you ask for?!

Ulisse in Potsdam

"Il Ritorno D'Ulisse" just performed in Potsdam, Germany and for the first time I performed all the performances. Up to now I've been splitting the role of Ulisse with the originator, Basil Jones. It was a great pleasure reuniting with this company of incredibly talented musicians, singers, and puppeteers. I feel lucky to be a part of this production!

Back in time to Field Station Dinosaurs

I donned the tyrant lizard queen again for a couple of gigs at Field Station Dinosaurs. It was great fun running around and scaring (and tickling) the kids at Field Station: Dinosaurs!

Jon Riddleberger: High School Teacher

I had the privilege of leading three days of workshops for the advanced theater class at my alma mater, Chatham High School. It was such a weird time warp stepping back in to those halls. But the kids were lots of fun and we had a good time diving in to some imaginative puppet work. We learned the basics of Bunraku Puppetry, made moving landscapes out of found objects, and created scenes for our puppets to live in. I hope we'll get to do it again next year!

Sun Ra lives!

After several months of puppet building, planning, choreographing, singing, and child wrangling we finally saw PS 3 Bedford Village School's performance of "Sun Ra and the Seven Habits of Leadership" come to life! The kids did great. With very little rehearsal they strut their stuff on stage. It was a pleasure working with them all. What an amazing thing that this school spends time within it's curriculum to talk about and learn how to be leaders. Hopefully the kids walked away from this experience with a better idea of what a leader is.

Feathers in Taiwan

We had a great time bring "Feathers of Fire" to Taiwan! The theater was great and the audience was packed for our two shows. Plus I got a fair amount of time to explore Kaohsiung. I'm feeling much more familiar with the show and am looking forward to going to the west coast with it in the Fall.

For more about Feathers of Fire head here: http://www.kingorama.com/feathersoffire/

Goodnight Sweet Prince

"How To Hamlet or Hamleting Hamlet" has come to a close. What a great show and a great group of people! I had a great time helping compile this show for Theater Reconstruction Ensemble. I'm very proud of what the company was able to achieve and the response was great! Don't believe me? Check out some of the reviews:

http://www.culturebot.org/2017/04/27137/how-to-hamlet-or-hamleting-hamlet-a-response/

http://www.theasy.com/Reviews/2017/H/howtohamletorhamletinghamlet.php

http://www.downtownexpress.com/2017/04/05/theater-reconstruction-ensemble-conjures-a-wry-hamlet/

Puppets and Vibraphones

My friend Dorothy James Loechel invited me to collaborate with her on a short shadow piece to accompany the vibraphone looping stylings of Matthew O'Koren. We performed it as a part of the Feast Performance Series alongside two other wonderful performance pieces. I had a great time working with Dorothy on this. Hopefully we'll be seeing more of our little puppet dude in the future!

To check out some of Matthew's music head here: https://soundcloud.com/suchdazzlingplumage

Zahhak at National Sawdust

We had a couple of fun performances of "Zahhak: The Legend of the Serpent King" at National Sawdust today. There was a delightful group of kids and adults in the audience and it's always a pleasure playing around with this show. I'm looking forward to doing it again in the future!

Lighting my Feathers on Fire

I've joined the cast of Hamid Rahmanian's collaboration with Shadowlight Theatre, "Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic". The show was created in San Fransisco and has been traveling the world for the past year and a half. I recently headed to Toronto to begin work as an understudy. I'm looking forward to continuing to learn the show!

For more info about the show head here: http://www.kingorama.com/feathersoffire/

 

End of Year Review

I've been awful at keeping this News feed up to date. So we're going to fast forward to the present moment through list form. Here's a summary of the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017!

  • Puppeteered a skeleton puppet in a parade as an extra in the upcoming film "Landline"
  • Went upstate with Mettawee River Theatre Company to assistant direct their latest show "Before the Sun and Moon"
  • Took "Acting as Play" clown classes through the Funny School of Good Acting with the very wise and fun Gabe Levey
  • Continued to teach the residents at Special Citizens Futures Unlimited through Shadow Box Theatre Co.
  • Workshopped and performed Theater Reconstruction Ensemble's next show "How To Hamlet or Hamleting Hamlet" with The New Ohio Producers Club.
  • Performed "The Legend of Zahhak: The Rise and Fall of the Serpent King" with Hamid Rahmanian at BAM
  • Reprised my role as a Lord of Death at the "Procession of the Ghouls" at St John the Devine
  • Performed "Il Ritorno D'Ulisse" at the White Light Festival at Lincoln Center
  • Performed a remount of "Argus" for Lincoln Center Theater's Kids programming
  • Started teaching an after school puppetry course for 2nd and 3rd graders at Spence on the Upper East Side
  • Did puppetry workshops and consulting at Horace Mann Upper School for their all school production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
  • Helped make sets and props and performed in a "Oscars Academy Award Best Picture Nominations in One Take" all performed by puppets!
  • And Finally! Begin rehearsals for the full production of "How To Hamlet or Hamleting Hamlet" with Theater Reconstruction Ensemble which I will be cowriting.

Phew! And now! Onward!

Ulisse in South Korea

Well. That was a special time. 

I'm just back from Gwang Ju South Korea where I was learning a part in Hans Spring Puppet Company's collaboration with William Kentridge: "Il Ritorno D'Ulisse". It's a production of the Baroque opera by Montiverdi. The show is really beautiful. Each character is portrayed by a puppet operated by a puppeteer and sung by a singer. I was learning Basil Jones' part. 

We spent the time rehearsing and the time culminated in two performances. The company was a fun eclectic group from every corner of the world. It was a such a pleasure being surrounded by all that music and singing.

Gwang Ju is a funny little provincial town. I had a great time exploring on my bike. We hiked, went to markets, ate mysterious food, and had an all around good time.

I'm looking forward to performing the show at Lincoln Center in November and Potsdam, Germany in June 2017, and hopefully more gigs to be announced! 

Teaching Monsters at ETW

I was so excited to head back to NYU Tisch's Experimental Theatre Wing to do more puppet work with the freshman. This time we expanded on our previous work by getting more detailed and imaginative! We made monsters and created scenes and sent off the school year with a bang. It was great fun and I hope the students will continue using and exploring puppetry over the next three years.

Little birds in a big world

I had the privilege this month of advising a senior year project at my Alma Mater NYU Tisch's Experimental Theatre Wing. Merv Johnstone created a lovely piece called "Interlude: A Bird Song"

Merv and the cast did a really great job. They worked super heard and it paid off in a show that they could all be proud of. It was creative, energetic, funny, and heartbreaking.

To Hamlet or not to Hamlet?

How to Hamlet? is the presiding question we're ruminating over in Theater Reconstruction Ensemble's latest reconstruction. We've just spent a week workshopping some fledgling ideas and I think I can safely say it's going to be a fun one! Stay tuned for developments as they come!

Our Voices ring on the High Line

I've spent the past two weeks working with Our Voices creating a new piece called "How The I Becomes We". The company worked with a bilingual class (ASL and spoken english) at PS 347 in a story making workshop. We then spent the last couple of weeks synthesizing that into a performance solely performed in American Sign Language with a bit of music and a puppet!

I really had such a good time working on this show. I was totally out of my element as the only person who didn't speak ASL. But the company was really lovely and accommodating. I couldn't help but relate to what it must be like living in a world made for hearing people as a deaf person. Ultimately we had a lovely showing!

Zahak in Park Slope

Another successful performance of our little Persian shadow show. This time at a library in Park Slope!

Top Secret Puppets

So I can't tell you what. Or Who. But I got to participate in a super cool developmental project this week. But it's secret. So you'll just have to use your imagination.