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Thursday, January 26, 2023

HERE Announces Full Programming for PUPPETOPIA – Broadway World

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The Obie Award-winning HERE has announced programming for Puppetopia, a presentation of HERE’s Dream Music Puppetry program. Puppetopia will run May 11-22, 2022 in the HERE Mainstage & Dorothy B. Williams Theatres (145 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10013).

Forced to close early due to the pandemic, HERE is bringing back Théâtre de l’Entrouvert’s Anywhere for an encore presentation. Premiering and performing in repertory with Anywhere will be new, live and fully realized iterations of works and in-progress excerpts that were developed as part of Dream Music Puppetry Program’s new Mini-Residency Initiative during the 2020-21 Season. Artists Kate Brehm, Andrew Gaukel, Sara Outing, Lake Simons, Sachiyo Takahashi & Rowan Magee, and Christopher Williams & Patti Bradshaw will present their new creations which embrace music and a range of puppetry techniques, choreography and object work as they explore a range of themes around the human condition and our existence at this moment in history.
Puppetopia is made possible through the generous support of Cheryl Henson. Individual performances are made possible with support from the Jim Henson Foundation, the Jim Henson Foundation Residency at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and Puppetry at the Carriage House (PATCH) Residency.
The schedule for Puppetopia is as follows:

PROGRAM 1

HERE Mainstage
Wednesday May 11-Saturday May 14 at 8:30pm; Sunday May 15 at 4:00pm
*There will be a talkback following the Friday May 13 performance.
Freely inspired by the novel Œdipe sur la route (Oedipus on the Road) by Henry Bauchau, Théâtre de l’Entrouvert’s Anywhere evokes the long wandering of Oedipus accompanied by his daughter Antigone. The fallen Oedipus appears in the form of an ice puppet that gradually turns into water then into mist and disappears in the Erynian Forest, the place of clairvoyance. It is an inner evolution represented through the metamorphosis of water.
In a society where reality is drained of its meaning, space and time of their substance, and we are cut off from our true existence in this glossy world of superficiality, is there any room for those who do not participate in the power game, for those who stumble, those who search and lose themselves? Anywhere traces with gentleness and strength a poetic journey, in black and white, of fire and ice, which speaks to us about our bodies, our fragilities, our wanderings in the infinite circle of renewal.
Anywhere is a presentation of HERE’s Dream Music Puppetry Program (Basil Twist, Artistic Director) and was created by Elise Vigneron and Hélène Barreau in 2016. It has since toured extensively, including performances in China, Germany, Italy, Korea, and in the London International Mime Festival.
Anywhere is conceived by Elise Vigneron, based on the novel Œdipe sur la route by Henry Bauchau, and directed by Elise Vigneron and Hélène Barreau. It is made possible with funding from FACE Contemporary Theater, a program of Villa Albertine and FACE Foundation, in partnership with the French Embassy in the United States, with support from The Ford Foundation, Institut français, the French Ministry of Culture, and private donors; and the Jim Henson Foundation’s Allelu Award.

PROGRAM 2

Dorothy B. Williams Theatre
Wednesday May 11-Saturday May 14 at 7:00pm; Sunday May 15 at 2:00pm
*There will be a talkback following the Sunday May 15 performance.
Walking Iris (excerpts) by Christopher Williams & Patti Bradshaw is an absurdist puppet/dance work inspired by botanical wonders such as the walking iris (Neomarica gracilis), winged immortals including the Greek goddess Iris (personification of the rainbow), Harpies (sisters of Iris), and the Boreads (wind brothers), as well as the mysterious “Ladies in Blue” fresco recreated from fragments found in the Minoan palace of Knossos on the island of Crete. Set to stylized “re-imaginings” of ancient Greek musical fragments recorded by Gregorio Paniagua, excerpts from the work-in-progress for Puppetopia will feature puppets by Wendy Froud and Williams along with prosthetic costumes by Patti Bradshaw.
In Animist by Andy Gaukel, a solo performer engages with a life-sized puppet to explore the stress of depression, addiction and the profound feelings of loss many of have experienced not only during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also during life itself. The piece is wordless, and, with the exception of a wood box, puppet, and performer, takes place entirely on a bare stage defined by patterns of light reminiscent of broken windows.
One Night in Winter is the first chapter of Shinnai Meets Puppetry, a project to introduce the Japanese storytelling of Shinnai-bushi to international audiences with puppetry. Sachiyo Takahashi performs this work-in-progress presentation of One Night in Winter by great master Okamoto Bunya under her official Shinnai-bushi name Okamoto Miya, collaborating with co-creator and puppet designer/lead puppeteer Rowan Magee. One Night in Winter is the story of a lonely old man who receives a surprise visit from a Tanuki (Japanese raccoon dog) on a cold winter night.

PROGRAM 3

HERE Mainstage
Wednesday May 18-Saturday May 21 at 8:30pm; Sunday May 22 at 4:00pm
*There will be a talkback following the Friday May 20 performance.
The Eye Which We Do Not Have by Kate Brehm is an eerie, yet powerful psychological tale about suppressed female desire told with puppetry and performing scenery. With a nod to Hitchcock, its cinematic style points to a constantly shifting perspective.
Doors by Sara Outing is an allegory about exhaustion and resilience, set among echoes and blueprints of the structures that keep Black Americans from being free. Tracking the journey of an ever-morphing central figure, Doors leaps across time and place to examine four centuries of displacement and survivorhood to find cues for rest, modes of resistance, and a vision for the future.

PROGRAM 4

Dorothy B. Williams Theatre
Wednesday May 18-Saturday May 21 at 7:00pm; Sunday May 22 at 2:00pm
*There will be a talkback following the Sunday May 22 performance.
Lifting the blanket of dementia and sliding in next to my mother I try to slip beneath her skin and unravel pieces of her life and tie them together with my own interpretation of what is in her weathered mind. Sorry About the Weather is a puppet play by Lake Simons, performed by Simons and Erin K. Orr with music by Rima Fand.
Tickets to individual Puppetopia programs are $25; a full festival package, which includes a ticket to each of the four programs, is available for $80. Tickets are available now at here.org/shows/puppetopia.
Until further notice, performances at HERE are Vaccinated Only Performances. All patrons will be required to show proof of a complete COVID-19 vaccination and proof of a booster dose via either the NY Excelsior pass or vaccination card (for those eligible in accordance with CDC guidelines).
In addition to showing proof of full vaccination status and a picture ID, all patrons will also be required to wear masks (KN95 or KF94 masks are strongly recommended).
HERE asks that all audience members to please stay home if they have a sore throat, are feeling sick in any other way, or have been recently exposed to COVID-19, and to please contact the box office for refunds or exchanges.
All of HERE’s performers, technicians, and staff members are required to be fully vaccinated and masked unless they are onstage performing. Additionally, they are participating in an active testing regimen to keep everyone as safe as possible.
HERE’s Comprehensive Site Safety and Reopening Plan can be found at reopening.here.org. The designated HERE Site Safety Monitor will be present at every performance and will be responsible for enforcing compliance with this Safety Plan. HERE reserves the right to revise protocols as the rate of transmission changes and in light of new scientific data that may present itself.
HERE’s Dream Music Puppetry Program, under the artistic direction of Basil Twist, with producing direction from HERE co-founder Barbara Busackino, is one of few programs in the country to grow and commission contemporary adult puppet works, particularly works that feature live music as a collaborative element. Dream Music seeks to secure the future of puppetry by providing increased development and performance opportunities to puppet artists, and by collaborating with artists from other disciplines to develop new puppetry techniques. In addition, Dream Music brings to New York the most excellent of international puppetry, reflecting on Twist’s roots at the École Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette in Charleville-Mezieres, France. Dream Music was inaugurated with the premiere of Basil Twist‘s Obie Award-winning Symphonie Fantastique in 1998 and the opening of the Dorothy B. Williams Theatre, an intimate space created specifically for intimate puppetry. HERE’s Dream Music is also proud to house the Griff Williams Puppetry Collection. The 6 antique marionettes of Harry James, Griff Williams, Cab Calloway, Arturo Toscannini, Ted Lewis and Paul Whiteman were all performed with The Griff Williams Orchestra in the 1930s & 40s throughout America’s big band era. They have a permanent home outside the Dorothy B. Williams Theatre at HERE.

The Obie Award-winning HERE (Kristin Marting, Founding Artistic Director) was named a Top Ten Off-Off Broadway Theatre by Time Out New York and is a leader in the field of producing and presenting new, hybrid performances viewed as a seamless integration of artistic disciplines-theatre, dance, music and opera, puppetry, media, visual and installation, spoken word and performance art.

HERE’s standout productions include Eve Ensler‘s The Vagina Monologues, Taylor Mac‘s The Lily’s Revenge and The Hang, Trey Lyford & Geoff Sobelle‘s all wear bowlers, Young Jean Lee‘s Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven, James Scruggs‘ Disposable Men, Corey Dargel‘s Removable Parts, Robin Frohardt’s The Pigeoning, and Basil Twist‘s Symphonie Fantastique, and Looking at You by Rob Handel, Kristin Marting and Kamala Sankaram.

Since its founding in 1993, HERE and the artists it has supported have received 18 Obies, 2 Bessies, 5 Drama Desk nominations, 2 Pulitzer Prizes, 4 Doris Duke Awards, 7 Tony nominations, and 2 MacArthur Fellowships.
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