So, obviously, blogging does not come naturally to me, as my last post was in April. But, rather than give up all together, I’m trying again, on my own terms. This time, I will write about only what is directly tied into my actual life working as a puppeteer, arts educator, writer, illustrator, traveler, etc.
So, to catch up on some highlights:
MAY: writing, re-writing, and re-re-writing an original script and building the puppets for the show to tour in June. Because the story took place in several distinctly different locations, I made a sort of really big pop-up book for the scenery (inspired by the wonderful Monica Leo of Eulenspeigel Puppets (http://www.puppetspuppets.com) in Iowa), and built rod marionettes.
JUNE: As it turned out, although the audiences were enthusiastic, I actually did not like the show – I just don’t feel connected to the character through a rod – I prefer to have my own hand animating the characters as their own muscles and bones. But the tour all over Louisiana went fine, and I learned some Arabic from cd’s I listened to constantly on the road.
• Finished the state touring.
• Led the wonderful teen docents at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in their annual adventure to create puppet performances based on works of art of their choice. This is an amazing whirlwind experience in creation of scripts, puppets and props, in preparation for performances in local libraries. Fantastic work by puppeteers Pandora, Princess, Madeline, Jyran, Starr, Myron, and Da’Marcus!!!
• And had a great week teaching teachers at the fabulous Tennessee Arts Academy. I only wish every state provided such a supportive and honoring experience for their teachers, all in service of helping teachers integrate the arts into the curriculum. We were all treated to warm Southern hospitality, great food, and presentations by national talents such as writer/musician Rupert Holmes and Broadway singer, Rebecca Luker!
AUGUST: A long bout of bronchitis/pneumonia. A short trip north to visit family (American Visionary Art Museum http://www.avam.org/ in Baltimore is awesome!)
The next journey begins in a couple days – a U.S. Embassy sponsored trip to Oman to present shows, and teach teachers. (This the reason for the Arabic study – sorry to say did not get too far, but more than last trip to the Middle East). I am bringing a show featuring four Aesop’s fables. I took a different version of this to Bahrain last year, and found that these stories are well known perhaps world wide, so they are a good choice for non-English speaking audiences. I will present with very little language, and plan to add some Arabic (for example, the word “Wolf” in The Boy Who Cried Wolf”!)
For the teacher workshops, I will present the “Finding the Story” workshop, which leads teachers through a process they may use with their students to bring any curriculum to life through shadow puppetry. The teachers for these workshops are usually local teachers of English, although I have presented to general classroom teachers, through a translator. I am especially excited that I will meet Omani puppeteer, Azza AL-Badi Here is the link to the video she sent me about her work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRzUtbDtz5U
Next post will be from Oman!