Since the summer in New Lebanon, my most significant project has been an eclectic collaborative show called Telling The Bees that took inspiration from the real-life drama of climate change to create an epic story. Traditional theater elements combined with more experimental performing styles (shadow puppetry, devised movement, image projection) to carry the audience along this exploration of individual lives brushing against the universal forces of the cosmos.
What started with a week-long residency at Columbia University's Schapiro Theater became an ambitious performance piece that morphed through different incarnations: performances in public spaces, "black box" stages, a puppet slam, and a holiday exhibition. Beyond the cast of talented actors I met and worked with over these months, I'm grateful that through the project I have also worked closely with creative builders behind the scenes, among them Austrian director Sina Heiss, American playwright Gabrielle Sinclair and Polish visual artist Izabela Gola.
To give you some idea of what these projects looked like, I've included a few snapshots below. Hopefully, there will be even more in the new year!
JULY: Workshop Development at Schapiro Theater. This is the ensemble shot after the last performance. The production included seven children between the ages of 4 and 13, which will really test your skills for handling chaos.
AUGUST: During a month-long residency in the Chashama Summer Performance Series, elements of our workshop were performed at a public building in Long Island City.
SEPTEMBER: This time the Treehouse Theater, near the Flatiron District, hosted two versions of performance that only included shadow puppets and scripted scenes (no toddlers to corral!). Up to this point, these performances have been my favorite from the entire Telling The Bees series.
SEPTEMBER: Each Telling The Bees stage performance begins with an 8-minute shadow puppet story. That piece gained a spot in the 2014 Puppet Slam at the LaMama Theater in the East Village, and it went over well!
DECEMBER: In fact, our piece was asked to return in a holiday exhibition the theater was putting on in December. The slideshow below gives you an idea of what part of that looked like (recognize my profile?), though there were also hand-manipulated cutouts that formed a more 'zoomed-out' picture.