Tarish Pipkins is a puppeteer from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He's a builder and performer, and this past year got the Henson Foundation grant for a second installment of his puppet show called 5P1Nok10, pronounced Spinocchio (his riff on the Pinocchio tale), about an android that wants to be a real b-boy. He's created a style of puppetry that's a cross between rod and marionette. This is our final Contemporary Puppetry Workshop led by national POC puppeteers for the year. The MRAC Arts Learning Grant funded it and I hope we can get it again to bring artists next year!
Without the Community Arts Grant from MRAC, Monkeybear would not have had enough money to do our New Puppetworks project, where 12 Native/POC artists got to create short puppet theater pieces, which gave them the experience needed to get other puppetry opportunities in the Twin Cities and nationally! We're hoping that sharing what we learned about writing this grant can help other Native or POC groups get this money! The workshop was held on Sept. 16th.
Everyone that came had never applied before. Grants are hard to write, and completely draining and time consuming. Was great to pass on some tips that hopefully make it less time consuming than it was for us to write one for Monkeybear. Masami from MRAC came and helped explain the different questions and chatted about other MRAC opportunities as well.
So grateful to Pangea for donating the use of their space for the final presentation. At the end of each year's Intensive, participants highlight the techniques/styles they learned by performing short vignettes based on the improvising they did during the week.
Chamindika, the Artistic Director on the left, chatting with sound artist Dameun Strange, who improvised music for the showing.
It meant a lot that some Intensive/New Puppetworks alumni came to the final presentation of the new cohort. They gave feedback, asked questions and gave advice on being in the New Puppetworks program.
Afterwards, participants talking about which styles they connected with.
Learning the fundamentals of puppet performance, a different style each day for a week. Can't believe we have a whole new cohort! They will go on to create short pieces in our New Puppetworks program. We'll find out if we got the MRAC grant in a week! Finally caught up with the whole year now on this blog!
Ben, Luis, Alejandra, Kallie ad Denise cutting out shadow puppets, and below, Hawona and Donavan.
Balancing sticks to understand focus.
Above is an excercise where the participants are pretending to be the puppets, to better understand how they need to be performed.
Bringing objects to life.
Andrew Kim sewing some handpuppets for our practice puppets. He also build us a small shadow screen to practice with.
Learning breath, focus and intent with fabric.
That's Tom Lee in the center, an amazing patient teacher, we learned so much about three-person manipulation.
The joy of bringing a puppet to life! Serita learning with one of the traditional Japanese sannin-zukei style of puppetry (commonly referred to here as Bunraku, but really that's just the name of a company in Japan that does that style).
Zoe found out about our workshop last minute but was able to do both days. She said she had never made a puppet before and hadn't done paper mache since grade school, but she made an amazing head to use with the practice body Tom brought.
Michele, Andrew and Serita holding stick with palm of hand while doing movement, to learn how to listen to each others' bodies when manipulating a puppet with three people.
Tom showing us how to practice moving a puppet's legs to look like it's walking.
Serita, Donovan and Andrew moving the puppet with the head that Andrew had made.
Hua Hua Zhang demonstrating performance with mask and object as part of our series of July/August 2017 Contemporary Puppetry Workshops led by national POC puppeteers, funded by MRAC.
Pic below: Choreographer Rosy Simas closing out the movement excercises, so amazing! It really prepared us for the object/material & mask workshop. She totally made us feel more connected to our bodies.
I'm so glad we did a Monkeybear workshop where we use simple, cheap material that isn't as time consuming as clay (although we love clay!)-just cardboard and newspaper that would have gone into recycling and masking tape and staples....it makes the whole process less intimidating for someone that has never made one before. The material doesn't seem precious, so you feel more free to just make and not worry about cost of materials and not wanting to "waste" it. So proud of all the participants! You do not need a visual arts background to make something awesome!
Rebekah and Magdalena performing their piece, pic is from behind the scenes. Below is an image from their show.
Below is a pic from a shadow piece by Michele Spaise, Lela Pierce and Keegan Xavi.
Below is a pic from Andrew Young's piece.
Below are two pics from the shadow piece by Chitra Vairavan, Sally Nixon and Jordan Hamilton. The second pic is from behind the scenes.
Below is a pic from Brenda Bell Brown's work.
They finally put the lettering up in June! We had the space since March. Was struggling back then with deciding whether to get a space or not, but realized immediately after getting it, how important it is!!!! The participants have been using it to the fullest, getting ready for the New Puppetworks show. Space to experiment and play and create for Native and POC interested in puppetry and sequential art!!!!!! We got to borrow Pillsbury House Theatre's screen to practice the shadow puppetry with. Below is a pic of Liz Schachterle giving Lela, Michele and Keegan's group some advice.
In preperation for the New Puppetworks program we had a two-day shadow puppet workshop, one at Christopher Lutter-gardella's studio, many of the artists are interested in doing a shadow puppet piece. Below is a pic from the demo-of-techniques session led by Liz Schachtere the day before. Using three overheads at the same time takes a lot of coordination!