Friday, November 25, 2005

Master Peter

A couple of stills from a video of Master Peter. First photo: Kenton and I with Don Quixote in one of his more somber moments dreaming of Dulcinea. Second photo: Becka as the monkey on the shoulder of Master Peter, operated by Garrett and Corrina. Thanks, Bob!

Thursday, November 24, 2005


I love watching theater. Sometimes when a show is just right, the audience and actors in accord, something happens and it feels like all boundaries fall away, that it's no longer two seperate groups of people, but one, hovering in the space between the house and the stage. It's transforming, exhilerating, and wonderful.

I've only just crossed from audience to performer, and my fondest hope is to feel what that's like from the other side. I haven't really so far, my mind is always preoccupied with worries and mistakes. Though there's been a few very brief moments of something that I think is close.

In the hours before the show, a view from that other side of Don Quixote and the Terrace Theater house. Angel the conductor and Marcela the designer talk in the shadows.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Kennedy Center

Saturday morning rehearsals. Everyone is tired from a long Friday of travel and puppet preparation. The Terrace Theater stage has different dimensions then the Wesleyan stage we've been working on for months, and there are dreadful wheel-catching grooves in the floor. Turning the cart takes on new dangers. Every move by puppet and puppeteer must be re-figured.

First photo, Bob Bresnick (director) and Jack Carr (lighting designer) in the house while students readjust to the stage. Second photo, Johann and Jess with The Boy. Third photo, Garrett, the muscle behind the heavy Master Peter.

puppets arrive

The puppets unpacked and waiting for re-assembly backstage at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater. Leslie Weinberg the designer works with tech crew in piecing the puzzle back together.

Below, Master Peter and The Boy still in their travel wrappings without their heads.

Washington DC

On Friday myself, 17 Wesleyan students, and 7 faculty and staff members drive from Connecticut to Washington with a truck load of puppets and set pieces from the Master Peter show. Here, through the van window, the Kennedy Center where we'll be performing.

studio in chaos

The messiness of my studio directly corresponds to the number of projects I have going. A partial shot of some record breaking chaos last week between the Wesleyan and Washington performances of Master Peter when I was trying to catch up with painting work.

On my desk a children's book cover I've been struggling to finish for longer then I want to say. Beyond: a box of books sent to me to sign, abandoned dance shoes for a show I had to bow out of, and my faithful studio cat MoJo enjoying an aviation map bound for the next series of collage paintings I'm eager to start work on.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

the show at last

Months and months of work by so many people come to such short little stretch of time. I've been rehearsing and working a few days a week on the three puppets assigned to me since August, but the Wesleyan students, Leslie Weinberg the puppet designer and Bob Bresnick the director have worked themselves to the bone for this 25 minute show.

I am unspeakably grateful for the trust Bob and Leslie put in me to build puppets, and for another opportunity to perform, which I love so much. And my part as Don Quixote's right arm lets me be fantastically physical and dramatic.

The first show, Friday night. I and my wonderful and very strong partner Kenton try to take advantage of opportunities for great sentimental reveries and violence.

opening night

I've added a mane and tail to the horse at the last minute. Anna, one of the student puppeteers who operates it, practicing before the house opens to see if she can make her passes with the new adjustments. She does it beautifully.

puppets await

In the Wesleyan scene show Friday night, a few hours before the first performance of Master Peter. The puppets have miraculously all come to be in working order, I have time to wander and take pictures.

Top, Corrina, a student, puppet maker and new puppeteer, tends to Don Quixote in front of the puppet stage cart. Below, monkey hangs with the puppets of the puppet show within the puppet show.

Friday, November 11, 2005

dress rehearsal

Tonight Master Peter's Puppets opens at Wesleyan. The week leading up to this has had me so immersed in puppet making and puppet rehearsing I haven't had the mind to take pictures. There are many lovely scenes backstage as puppets await their entrance, but last night this was the only puppeteer I could get to stand still long enough in the light for a photo.

Three of the audience puppets and to their right, low on the wall, a mysterious appartition.

Monday, November 07, 2005

sic itur ad astra

I live for flying. Everything I love to do most simulates the feeling of flight in some way-- driving, puppeteering, dreaming, trapezing, and ice skating. But on Friday I had a rare opportunity to do the real thing when a generous friend offered to take me up in a small plane, which I have always wanted to do.

I've been on plenty of passenger jets but this was completely different. I've never seen places I knew well from the air before. We flew over roads I drive daily, the nuns' retreat, the place we fire spin, the river boats I used to work on... from above everything looked so much closer together, and everything was beautiful beyond belief. I did not want to land. I still can't say all that it did to me. I left somewhat diminished for now knowing what an earth-bound being is missing.

No small part of the wonderful-ness of the trip was the pilot, one of the most extraordinary people I have ever met. He kindly banked the plane so I could pick out where things were and take pictures. In the photo, the Mercy Center below, where I spent hours on the deck of the tower watching planes above, day dreaming about what they could see.

fortune cookie

One I found on my kitchen counter this morning, from where it came I knew not but I ate it anyway. It says: "Love is the affinity which links and draws together the elements of the world." I can see that.

Friday, November 04, 2005

leaving earth

And then, I was here.


Thursday night, at the Locco Ritoro gallery, Boston. This was the official opening for Robert's Snow, the fundraising auction run by my friends Grace Lin and Robert Mercer, to benefit the Dana Farber Insitute.

We started this project last year, not knowing if we'd break $5,000, and ended up with $100,000. This year things have become far bigger and more serious from the start. Over a hundred people came to this little gallery, from as far away as Virginia, just for the snowflakes.

Here, visitors looking at 200 tiny pieces of art painted by children's book illustrators from all over the country.


I don't know where I think the world is going, but I've been racing around trying to eat up every bit of it as if it's about to disappear.

This month has been beyond anything I can recall, with so many projects, events, and coincidences happening all at once. Thursday, on very little sleep I raced to Boston for the grand gallery opening of Robert's Snow, which goes on auction this weekend, and found myself with nothing to do for a few minutes as I waited for a friend, who suggested I walk to this park. I did, and seeing the fall leaves, water, and benches I suddenly recalled what I'd learned at the Mercy Center so dramatically-- all these wonderful, life changing experiences come to nothing without the time in between to absorb them. The rests between the notes in music are as important as the notes themselves.

I didn't have a lot of time to stay in this beautiful spot, but it was an important reminder.