Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Wild Wild Puppets"

Had a bit of a stall out this past couple of weeks as I had to focus on the start of school. But the momentum is building again. We've settled on a calendar, and I've gotten the green light from some guest directors to come preview the show and give us some feedback. The show will launch on Sunday, March 15th and run for 8 weeks, skipping Easter weekend.

We've also named the FTM run, "Wild Wild Puppets" and I will be working on a graphic for the posters this week. Today I finished off my first puppet -- "Prairie Chicken" -- and am working on building a few more puppets. Also, I'm working on creating a portable curtain kit that we can grow or shrink, depending on the size of the space.

Also! My friend, Dano, told me about The Henson Foundation and encouraged me to apply for a grant. More on THAT later.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Building the "Monster"

Sunday was the first official gathering of the first phase of the Puppet Improv Project. Several like-minded imps and I got together to talk about improvising with puppets. It was exciting to see the puppets people brought. Not everyone made theirs, but we have a good start on our puppet arsenal. We played with the puppets we brought and took a look at what might work for the run with FTM (Flying Theater Machine) that starts in March.

Those of us that tried to make our puppets (Amy, Gene, David & I) didn't quite finished in time. I learned the hard way that improvising the building of the puppet is NOT a good idea. A better policy is to A) browse for reference, B) brainstorm ideas, C) make a plan (a sketch), so that then you can "Measure Twice, Cut/Sew Once".

I'm building a "Prairie Chicken" to go with our Western/Tall Tales theme for the show. My puppet was still in pieces when the group started arriving. I had most of the pieces, but lacked a glue gun to put them together. Amy brought hers and helped me work out some funky deets. Here are some photos of the puppet as a WIP (Work In Progress).

It's interesting to me to see how much the puppet personality changes with the size, color, and position of the eyes.

It Begins...

What is the Puppet Improv Project (PIP)? Here's the scoop...

I'm going to try to focus on puppet improv for a whole year... and see how it plays out. I hope to squeeze several projects into 2009, including a kids show, a family show, a long-form show, and whatever else comes along. I may possibly push to do an improvised-puppet-musical, too, because that seems both really cool and really scary.

The PIP begins with my doing a joint-run with Jessica Arjet & the Flying Theater Machine that will last 8 weeks, and run March-May, Sundays 2pm at the Hideout Theater. I met with some like-minded improvisers to talk about what kind of show we could put on that would work for the FTM. We settled on a show that would be theme-based. This way we could have a genre around which to start building up a puppet arsenal. Our goal is to have a couple of puppet-improvisers in each show, joined by additional imps from the regular FTM cast. Jessica is vested in making the FTM shows profitable, and I am happy to be involved with a group focused on building equity.