New York’s La MaMa Experimental Theater Club will present a trio of adult puppet theater productions that are brimming with international art forms in “La MaMa Puppet Series 3” from October 8 to October 25, 2009.
The series will open with the newest work by Theodora Skipitares, “The Traveling Players present The Women Of Troy,” from October 8 to 25. The piece is based on the text of Euripides and the words of incarcerated women on New York’s Riker’s Island. From October 29 to November 8, Aphids Puppet Theatre of Australia will perform “A Quarreling Pair,” three miniature puppet plays inspired by the work of the same name by American avant garde writer Jane Bowles. From November 12 to 29, Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre will perform Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” on three trays with three puppeteers and 22 eight-inch actors. The Series is curated by Denise Greber.
The La MaMa Puppet Series is now an annual event. It derives from a festival that La MaMa presented in 2004, which contained multicultural works from USA, India, Poland, Bali, Japan and the Czech Republic. That festival was supported by The Henson International Festival of Puppet Theater and utilized all three of La MaMa’s performance theaters. It made the La MaMa community long to revive its traditional place as an entry point for international puppet theater artists.
Last year (2008), under the curatorship of Denise Greber, La MaMa presented The La MaMa Puppet Series 2, which contained three productions: “Room to Panic” by Federico Restrepo/Loco7 (Colombia), “Ko’olau” by Tom Lee (Hawaii) and “The Doll Sisters” (Ningyo Shimai) from Japan, directed by Setsu Asakura.
The series has been supported each year by the Jim Henson Foudation with additional support by Heather Henson and Cheryl Henson.
T H E P L A Y S
OCTOBER 8 TO 25 – Thursday thru Sunday at 7:30PM in The Annex Theater; $18 (Equity showcase)
“THE TRAVELLING PLAYERS PRESENT THE WOMEN OF TROY” BY THEODORA SKIPITARES
The play is based on the merging of two sources: the text of Euripides, and the words of incarcerated women on New York’s Riker’s Island, developed in performance workshops at the prison. The play features a group of contemporary puppeteers (shadow and Bunraku), who recreate events from the fall of Troy in shadow theater and video projection. In between shadow scenes, a series of ¾ life-size, realistic rod puppets emerge from behind the screen. Each one, operated by a single puppeteer, begins a monologue from an adaptation of Euripides’ “The Women of Troy.” The characters are: Helen of Troy, Queen Hecuba, her daughter Cassandra, and her daughter-in-law, Andromache. Each is being dragged off “like cattle, far from home,” to a life of slavery. As each character is revealed in her monologue, the focus shifts from the puppet to the puppeteer, as the text transforms itself to a present-day reality of imprisonment. The inmates’ personal stories bring to life the fabled tales of Greek literature.
Thursday thru Saturday at 8PM and Sunday at 2:30PM in La MaMa’s First Floor Theater; $18
APHIDS PUPPET THEATRE OF AUSTRALIA IN “A QUARRELING PAIR”
Following revelatory sell-out seasons at La Mama Melbourne and Malthouse Theatre Melbourne, “A Quarreling Pair” by Australia’s Aphids Puppet Theater returns to its inspirational and intellectual source, New York City, to be presented by La MaMa E.T.C. “A Quarreling Pair” is actually an evening of three miniature puppet plays including the play by that name written by American avant-garde writer Jane Bowles in the 1940s. Bowles’ play is an intense study of the desire to feel both safe and free in our most precious relationships. Aphids’ evening adds two more plays for the same two sister characters, one written by Lally Katz and one written by Cynthia Troup. Both of these plays are filled with Bowles’ unique blend of comedy and dark candour and elaborate on her ambivalent imagery.
NOVEMBER 12 TO 29
Thursday thru Saturday at 8PM and Sunday at 2:30PM at La MaMa’s First Floor Theater; $18.
CZECHOSLOVAK-AMERICAN MARIONETTE THEATER IN “TWELFTH NIGHT”
Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theater will perform “Twelfth Night (or What You Will),” the timeless Shakespearean tale of mistaken identity and misplaced matrimony. This three-tea-tray production, adapted and directed by Vit Horejs, will feature 22 eight-inch toy marionettes and three (more or less) live performers. To tell Shakespeare’s tale of twins separated in a shipwreck, the production will have eight- inch wonders of Czech craftsmen cavorting on the sands of Illyrian beaches, almost perishing in tumultuous waters teeming with giant fish and turtles, and bathing in champagne at the court of that paragon of Uptown decadence, Count Orsino. The lovelorn Count Orsino, the bumbling Toby Belch and his clowny compadres will be cast with woodenheaded actors. The waterfalls of wooing words written by William Shakespeare are adapted by that modern master of Bohemian rhapsodies, Vit Horejs.
To encourage audiences to see all three productions this season, La MaMa has established incentive pricing for the Series. Tickets to individual shows are $18 but audience members can purchase two shows or three shows at once and receive $3 off each ticket. This incentive price is available online, by phone and at the box office. Tickets can be purchased online at www.lamama.org. The phone number for audience information is (212) 475-7710. La MaMa is located at 74A East Fourth Street, between Second Avenue and Bowery, in the East Village.