Pre-Festival Feature: Two-Day Intensive Workshops, July 15-16
These special workshops, which take place Monday July 15 and Tuesday July 16, are separate from the regular festival workshops and entail an additional fee. They are presented by leading puppet artists and allow the participant to explore a topic in more depth.
You do not need to be registered as a Full Festival attendee to participate in an Intensive workshop however, you do need to complete the registration forms online.
Crafting Puppet Films with Alex Griffin
Crafting Puppet Films will dive into the world of filmmaking – for puppets! In this workshop intensive, we will create a short puppet film. In doing so, we’ll go through all the steps necessary – storyboards, shot listing, overheads, scheduling, lighting, filming, editing… and the final product! Each subject will be looked at through the viewpoint of puppetry on film, and each person will get a copy of our finished product.
Participants are asked to come with a basic understanding of cameras, lenses, and their workings. I will provide a “starter kit” PDF to everybody involved with the workshop that covers some of these things. Email correspondence in advance will help secure what kind of puppets we use (found object, table-top, hand and rod, etc), and the specificities of the script. I look forward to making a puppet film with you all!
Alex U. Griffin is an award winning cinematographer and photographer based in the Los Angeles area. He has worked on a wide range of projects from branded content and digital media to short and feature films (including the all-puppet feature film Yamasong: March of the Hollows), and specializes in working with puppetry.
Also very active in the puppet community, Alex is a film coordinator (and occasional editor, puppeteer and cinematographer), for Heather Henson’s Handmade Puppet Dreams film series, and on the Board of Directors for both the LA Guild of Puppetry and Puppeteers of America. For the PofA National Festivals, Alex is an official photographer, and curates the Reel Puppetry Film Fest.
On Camera Manipulation with Lisa Sturz & Greg Ballora
Have you ever wanted to try your hand at operating puppets for TV? Or maybe you are looking to improve your manipulation for live shows? With a camera and monitor, you are watching and adapting your performance skills in REAL TIME. The camera never lies!
Performing puppets for recorded media requires a unique set of skills. Participants will learn the technical vocabulary needed to work effectively on camera. We will practice the basics including eye focus, lip sync, character voices, posture, breath and timing; graduating to performing with a monitor, finding the center of frame, and keeping a consistent height.
As participants become more comfortable with the reverse image of the monitor, we will practice entering and exiting, walking towards camera, sharing focus with a partner, handling arm rods and following a moving object. We will experiment with comic timing, vocal characterization, and expressing emotion.
While giving our arms a break, we will watch playback and give feedback on how to improve the performance. Be prepared for some overnight homework. Towards the end of class, we will choreograph a group song and dance with everyone performing a role. This “group show” will be presented LIVE for a studio audience.
We will supply ping pong ball eyes and puppets, but you may also bring your own to work with.
Lisa Sturz is an Emmy and UNIMA Award winning puppeteer, builder, and teaching artist. She has worked with Jim Henson Productions, Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Imagineering, The Ice Capades, PBS, NBC, the Field Museum, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Silver Dollar City Theme Park, and many more. Lisa is Artistic Director of Red Herring Puppets, a national touring company specializing in curriculum based shows, hands-on residencies and teacher trainings. Favorite venues include the Center for Puppetry Arts, the Puppet Showplace, the 1st International Puppet Fringe Festival NYC. Film and television credits include Howard the Duck, the Flintstones, Ninja Turtles III, Murphy Brown, Muppets from Space, Elmo in Grouchland, Puzzle Place, Roger Rabbit, Gremlins II, RoboCop and Batman Returns. Her recent adult production of My Grandfather’s Prayers has been taped at JLTV- LA for international distribution.
Lisa has an M.A. in Experimental Theatre from UConn and an M.F.A. in puppetry from UCLA. She has taught puppetry at Cal Poly, Warren-Wilson College, and numerous school residencies and teacher trainings.
Greg Ballora has been a Los Angeles-based puppet builder and performer for more than 30 years, He has puppeteered with the Muppets, Henson’s Puppet Up, and was the Puppet Captain on Disney’s Crash and Bernstein. On film, Greg was a lead marionettist for Team America: World Police and part of the core Doc Ock performance crew on Spiderman II. Greg has also been a Puppet Master for the Disneyland Resort, building puppets, training puppeteers, teaching students and creating parade choreography for puppets and large floats. Greg spent 15 years performing with Jim Gamble Puppet Productions, as well as building puppets with Jim and directing video projects.
Greg has taught puppet construction and performance at UCLA, Pepperdine University, Penn State and Cal Arts.
Pop up Puppetry… In the Dark with Sea Beast Puppet Company
Pop Up Puppetry…In the Dark is a kamikaze mission in puppetry development, design, and performance. Participants will conceive, design, build, rehearse, and perform an original black light shadow piece in a performance open to the public. These pieces will be short in length, most under or around 5 minutes and will be featured in a puppet slam at the conclusion of the class. This class is ideal for students who want to experience creating a piece from start to finish.
We are using black light puppetry to teach this class so participants will learn a variety of techniques in black light puppetry construction and manipulation. However, despite all the black light puppet knowledge and experience that will be offered in this class the real purpose is project development. Professional artists need to be able to make confident decisions, see the big picture, have the ability to express a message within their means, and most importantly see projects through to the end. This class was constructed for those that want to learn and hone these skills. Our hope is that you leave with a performance piece you can mount again and the tools and confidence to make many more. This class is open to people of an intermediate to advanced skill level as it is very fast paced and will be an intense experience.
We ask that participants bring what they can of the following items: Laptops, tablets, MP3 players, headphones, flash drives, x-acto knives and replacement blades, craft scissors, cutting mats and pliers. We will have some of all of these but not enough for the whole class. Each participant must bring a full set of completely black performance outfits for the final show. Material Cost $65.00
Kat Pleviak is the founder and Artistic Director of Sea Beast Puppet Company in Chicago, IL and holds an MFA In Youth Theatre and Puppetry from the University of Hawaii Manoa (2009).
Under Kat’s direction, Sea Beast has initiated a number of exciting puppetry projects including a series of original works including Little Red Rosie and the Dragon of Dümm, Liquid Ladies, The Shadow Puppet Conspiracy, The History of Light, and Méfiez-Vous de la Vache-Garou, which won best in show at the Chicago Fringe 2013.
She curates the Puppet Meltdown Puppet Slam and her work has been seen at regional, national, and international festivals including the Motor City Puppet Blast (2014), the Chicago Humanities Festival (2014), The Chicago Improv Festival (2013-2014), The National Puppetry Festival (2013), Potlatch Puppetry Festival (2009, 2011), Port City Puppet Festival (2010), UNIMA Congress (Perth 2008), and the Illinois Storytelling Festival (2009, 2010).
Kat has been published multiple times in the Puppetry Journal and writes a regular column for the publication titled Time Machine. Her work has been showcased many times in print including being a featured artist in Puppetry International’s issue of “40 under 40.”
Mary Kate Jenkins is a Chicago area freelance puppet builder and puppeteer with a BFA in Drama from New York University’s Experimental Theatre Wing. She has worked with several New York area production companies such as Basil Twist and Encyclopedia Pictura, where she worked on Bjork’s music video for Wanderlust. Props Design credits include Buddy Holly at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, Sylvia at the Metropolis Performing Arts Center, and Iolanthe at Light Opera Works. Her television puppetry credits include puppeteering for the children’s eco-based television pilot Mr. Furry Fur Fur and His Friendly Earth Friends. She currently works as a founding member of Sea Beast Puppet Company.
Jill Frederickson grew up in Michigan and attended Cranbrook Kingswood where she began her art addiction. She has a Bachelors of Art in European History from Northwestern University and also studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Jill currently is a member of Sea Beast Puppet Company and runs the Little Puppet Company. She has been creating masks and puppets professionally for almost 25 years. She has been a voiceover actor since 2003. Additionally, Jill has worked in a variety of industries including dental insurance, real estate, film (yes, she has an IMDB listing), Renaissance Faires and theater. She has lived in Michigan, Chicago, Los Angeles, Taos, New Mexico and currently resides in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Jill is married to the wonderful writer and performer Eric Frederickson.
Intensive Foam Fabrication – How to Fabricate a Puppet with Lex Rudd
Lex will walk you through the patterning and creation of your very own foam puppet. Beginning with an overview of the different types of foam, we will move into pattern making and examples. Lex will provide some simple patterns to make different body shapes, and participants can choose a design and practice foam cutting and gluing with the chosen body type. Then we will crack out the clay and each person will make a simple head sculpture to pattern. You do not have to be a sculptor do do this, you just need to have a character in mind and make the simple shapes. Then we will pattern the shapes, cut the pieces, trace and finally move on to making them from foam. We shall discuss mouth plates and movement and even get into making bending appendages if we have time. You will end up with a foam puppet that you can take home and finish. Bring an idea for a hand puppet design, it would be helpful to bring character sketches of your puppet design facing forward, sideways and a rear view.
Materials fee: ~$65/person
Lex Rudd has been making and designing creatures for as long as she can remember. Lex has worked for companies such as The Jim Henson Creature Shop, Disney Imagineering, Hasbro Toys and Folkmanis Puppets. She owns and operates a studio close to the redwoods and river in Sonoma Wine Country, CA.
Lex is also an alumni of the O’Neill Theater Center’s National Puppetry Conference. She is happiest when creating new and exciting puppets and creatures and loves to perform them.
From Microcosm to Macrocosm in the World of Wayang with Kathy Foley & I Nyoman Sedana
The puppet master is the premier artist of the Southeast Asian world where puppetry is seen as the technique of empowering the individual to control the universe. The rules, of solo performance or mass performance done by hundreds but controlled by the dalang, are really the same. This workshop offers an overview on puppetry relations between Bali, Java, Malaysia, Cirebon, and Southern Thailand with discussion about the interdependence of story scrolls, puppets, and mask theatres. Participants will learn manipulation, vocal, and movement techniques. Next they will actualize them in the narrative context of the story of the invention of puppetry by the Sufi Saint, Sunan Kalijaga, as a mode of healing the cosmos: a story that bridges religious, political and social divides.
Participants should expect an embodied understanding of the typology of Wayang, the inter-relationship of music and dance, and the concept of the God-Clown.They will gain a beginning understanding of wayang as a performance that balances the universe, and techniques whereby a solo performer can represent diverse types. We will enjoy the playful actualization, through group puppet/mask/movement performance, of macrocosm-microcosm correlations that are fundamental in wayang.
Our demonstration will be shared in a playful performance with an audience. Wooden doll rod puppetry of West Java, shadow puppetry of Bali, topeng masks, monkey chant (kecak), etc. will forge our Balinese-Sundanese-Javanese-American fusion production and participant should understand at the end why Western puppet practitioners from Craig, to Julie Taymor to Sonny Tilders (King Kong) have been inspired by the art.
Kathy Foley (Sundanese Wayang) is a Professor of Theatre at the University of California, Santa Cruz and President of UNIMA-USA. She serves on the Publications and Communications and the Research Commission of UNIMA-International. She has also taught at University of Malaya, University of Hawaii, Yonsei University, and Chulalongkorn University. She is author of the Southeast Asia section of CAMBRIDGE GUIDE TO WORLD THEATRE and past editor of ASIAN THEATRE JOURNAL She trained in mask and puppetry in the Sundanese region of Indonesia and was one of the first non-Indonesian invited to perform in the prestigious all Indonesia National Wayang Festival. Her research has been supported by grants or fellowships from Fulbright, East-West Center, Asian Cultural Council, Soros Foundation, Hewlitt-Packard and Yale Institute of Sacred Music, among others. Puppet plays include Farewell to Manzanar (with Jeannie and Jim Houston), Baba (with Belle Yang) and Fox Hunts and Freedom Fighters (with Chan Park). She is also a Punch and Judy professor.
I Nyoman Sedana (Balinese Wayang) is a professor of the puppetry division at Institute Seni Indonesia (Indonesian Institute of the Arts) in Denpasar Bali and comes from a noted Balinese family of mask dancers. He trained in Bali both in academic and traditional settings (with Dalang Sidja) in traditional puppetry and has performed internationally for many years. His PhD is from University of Georgia and focuses on Balinese puppetry using modern creativity. He and his students do both traditional and experimental performance (including puppet Shakespeares); he has written extensively on Balinese puppet performance and taught or directed at UCSC, Brown, University of Georgia, and Butler University as well as University of Essex and Royal Holloway (UK). He is on the planning committee for the upcoming World Puppetry Festival to be held in Bali in April 2020 and wants to welcome all American puppeteers to join that event.