2007 Grants


Songs from the Yellow Earth
by Chinese Theater Works
Photo by Kuang-Yu Fong

Chinese Theatre Works (Long Island City, NY)
Songs From the Yellow Earth is new production presenting 2500 years of Chinese poetry through shadow theater, directed and designed by Peter Schumann with CTW's Kuang-Yu Fong and Stephen Kaplin. The show focuses on Tang dynasty poems of war and Peking Opera wartime narratives, as well as ancient and contemporary texts. It features a combination of graphic and human shadows in Schumann's own distinctive visual languange.

The Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre (New York, NY)
Once There Was a Village is an interdisciplinary performance with music by Frank London and script by Vit Horejs, based on a book by Yuri Kapralov, a Lower East Side artist and additional immigrant stories gathered form various research sources. Kapralov and other artists tread a fine line in making a go of everyday life in the turbulent, eclectic and constantly changing neighborhood of the Lower East Side.

Oliver Dalzell (Astoria, NY)
Inspired by the low-brow art scene, animation, and music videos, Ice Cream for Diablo fuses the edited look of television with the intimacy of theater. This work uses multiple stages, rapid lighting and creepy urban puppets set to contemporary music.

Janie Geiser (Los Angeles, CA)
The Reptile Under the Flowers, a puppet theater work using shadow puppets, film, and rod and bunraku figures, and peepshow dioramas, is loosely based on Ibsen's play John Gabriel Borkman. The Reptile explores truth, greed, and emotional possession at the intersection of public power and family life. The piece will be site-specific and will premiere in Los Angeles in the Fall of 2007.

Great Small Works (New York, NY)
The Rapture Project combines stories from the daily news, current American religion and politics, popular End Times literature, traditional Sicilian puppetry, fundamentalist iconography, and original music. It addresses the question: Why do so many Americans, who believe that The Rapture is imminent and that acts on earth are irrelevant to their ascendance to heaven, have the ears of the highest levels of government?

Chris Green (Brooklyn, NY)
Tin Lightning is an original piece of dance/object theater using simple methods of shadow puppetry, found objects, collapsible sets, two dimensional cut-outs, movement, non-linear story telling, and original music to uncover the bitter-sweet relationships between people and the material world brought to bare during a violent thunderstorm.

Traveling at the Speed of Light
by Inkfish
Photo by Richard Termine

The Great Divorce
by The Magis Theatre Company
Photo by Brian Diaz

Beethoven in Camera
by Roman Paska

The Exile
by Skysaver Productions
Photo by Liz O. Baylen

Inkfish (Jackson Heights, NY)
Traveling at the Speed of Light is an original puppet theater piece exploring the life and science of Albert Einstein. The project will use puppetry, film and live musicians with a sound environment including original music and sampling of speeches by Albert Einstein.

Anna Kiraly (New York, NY)
The Quake unites two stories, UFO in K. and Slow Ascent, both loosely based on Murakami short stories. UFO tells two parallel intertwining stories. One is of aman, K, whose wife unexpectedly leaves him after the Kobe quake. Slow Ascent continues the story of K. stuck in an elevator where his thoughts and nightmares invade him taking the shape of a frog and trying to persuade him to help and stop the earthquake.

Lunatique Fantastique (Oakland, CA)
Chicken Stock is a found object theater piece, which tells the story of the avian flu from the perspective of the birds. Using wire mesh, newspaper, rope, a brass horn, brown sandals, and a feather pillow, the puppeteers of Lunatique Fantastique weave the tale of the Henpeck and Mallard family experiences with the deadly flu.

The Magis Theatre Company (New York, NY)
The Great Divorce takes us to an unfamiliar world where conscience is magnified, and faults personified. Based upon the 1946 novel by C. S. Lewis, this show translates Lewis' fantastical world into a theatrical production through the use of reflective mirror, shadow, and hand-held and full body puppets designed by Ralph Lee.

Roman Paska (New York, NY)
Beethoven in Camera is a new work co-produced by Dead Puppet and Schauspielhaus Wien which explores the relationship between hearing and understanding in an internal world of the puppet fabulist. Following a dramatic decent into the netherworld of the subconscious, the protagonist encounters a cast of self-referential characters. Set between giant wave images by Robert Longo and enhanced by a rich sound track by Paul Prestipino, Roman Paska takes us on a stylish reflective journey.

Redmoon Theater (Chicago, IL)
Once Upon a Time is a multi-media toy theater production for the whole family that recalls the simplicity of a bygone era through puppets inspired by hand-carved toys, toy theaters of the Victorian age, and authentice 1920's sounds and images. This production seeks to increase audience empathy for toy theater puppets through multiple masks, postural puppets, and realistic use of scale; call attention to women as storytellers in society; and inspire a feeling of nostalgia and childlike wonder in attending adults.

Rogue Artists Ensemble (Signal Hill, CA)
The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch was originally published in 1995 as a graphic novel by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. "Mr. Punch" centers on a Punch and Judy performer at a sea side arcade and one boy's fractured memory of a murder he witnessed as a child. "Mr. Punch" combines the classic tale of Punch and Judy told with puppets of various types and sizes to explore the similarieties between Punch's story and that of the boy.


Skysaver Productions (New York, NY)
The Exile is an interdisciplinary play that examines the evolution of the chorus in Greek drama and the way it reflects the dynamic relationship between the intire community and the dramatic events which occur within it. Using puppets, actors, dancers, film/video, live music and unique sculptural constructions that contain animated puppet figures and serve as fluid projection screens, The Exile looks at how crowds transform, shape, and color events.

SEED GRANTS ($2,000)


Alice Farley Dance Theater (New York, NY)
Adlebaran Days is a new project in black light theater combining puppetry, dance, sculptural costumes, circus skills and new music. It is to be developed in compact modules for small scale portable productions.

Company of Strangers (Chicago, IL)
Alchemy will include a trio of pieces, incorporating tabletop rod and shadow puppetry, film, found objects, and music, to form a full-length evening of work exploring the transcendent and troubling nature of memory.

Clare Dolan (Glover, VT)
The Odessa Stories revolve around life in one Russian Town, Odessa, which contained a vibrant Jewish community, populated by a rich cast of characters - gangsters, widows, lovesick young women, soldiers and religious scholars. The show will use the stories of the banal everyday life intersection of the townspeople to illustrate greater truths about the generosity and avarice of human beings and she sheer beauty of life.

Drama of Works (Brooklyn, NY)
Puppet Kafka is a speculation on the work, life and the peculiar perspective of Franz Kafka as imagined for performance by puppets. Using the complete text of The Metamorphosis as the main framwork, the play considers Kafka on terms specific to a piece of puppet theatre.

Michael Haverty (Atlanta, GA)
In As I Lay Dying, a mother's death triggers a farcical-heroic journey to the graveyard in this adaptation of William Faulkner's novel. Using Sicilian rod marionettes, toy theater, film and live musicians in a carnivalesque setting, this production examines the nature of identity in the face of great loss and suffering.

Dream Music Puppetry Program (New York, NY)
The Ludicrous Trial of Mr. P. is bizarre journey into the world of criminal prosecution with puppetry, masks, and video. Playwright Susan Yankowitz and puppeteer Cathy Shaw collaborate on a new play written for puppets and their human counterparts. The hour long script is inspired by the ridiculous but common practice in the middle ages of putting animals through an elaborate trial, equivalent to that of a human.

The Electric House
by Il Teatro Calamari
Photo by Tim Giugni

Sean Keohane
by The Terrible Polichinelle
Photo by Sean Keohane

Il Teatro Calamari (St. Helena, CA)
The Electric House has two goals. One to simply tell a story about a house and many of the people that have lived in this house. The second is to explore the use of shadow puppetry's scale and integrate, eliminate or enhance the segregation that occurs between audience and performers.

Sean Keohane (Bronx, NY)
The Terrible Polichinelle is the development of a series of short glove puppet shows based on the scripts of the 19th century French novelist and art critic Louis Duranty. The plays, many featuring the iconic Polichinelle, the Gallic version of Punch, will tour in portable theatres with a repertory company of carved wooden hand puppets, like those used in the traditional Guignol theatres in Paris.

Eric Novak (Brooklyn, NY)
American Frankenstein is a science fiction graphic novel brought to life as a colored shadow puppet show on a Japanese shoji screen. The plot revolves around three characters, a super-soldier, an Arab woman, and a scientist caught up in a Middle East war 50 years in the future

Big Nazo (Providence, RI)
Dr. T's Rat Tea Lab is mult-media performance combining a variety of puppet, mask and performance techniques with live music and pre-produced "Creature Video" projection. Dr. T, the masked storyteller, scientist/host uses puppetry to explore subjective and objective perception and Edmund Husserl's concept of Phenomenology. Bizarre and unusual creature pelts and 3-d foam rubber sculptures, including over-the-head-puppet lab rat Rodent #0791101, are animated and brought to life to suggest an alternative sense of "reality".

Basil Twist (New York, NY)
Piano Project is a new intimate puppet show, to be performed, and will be designed for the stage using the central presence of an upright piano and one pianist.

Sharp Tools Theatre (Providence, RI)
Absolute Brightness is a puppet/physical theatre performance about the limitations of space, the distance between two very precarious points, and the all-but-forgotten Miss Henrietta Swan Leavitt, one of Harvard Observatory's "human calculators" and the first contemporary astronomer to devise a mathematical equation to measure the vastness of the Universe beyond the Milky Way. Absolute Brightness is a story made of living objects, light, memory and the race for space.

Wakka Wakka Productions Inc. (Long Island City, NY)
Rabinowitz is a true story about a poor Polish man who fled anti-Semitism and emigrated to Haugesund, Norway in 1911. He eventually became a premiere name in men's suits and an industrial entrepreneur. Though he died in Auschwitz years before other Norwegian Jews were deported, this story is about the magic of his mind, his ability to find his home, build a business and cherish a land that never considered him one of its own. Rabinowitz will be told through the integration of masks, hand and rod puppets, music created from industrial noise and folk music, and a set that comes to life.



Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta, GA)
Duke Ellington's Cat is a lyrical look at the life and times of one of America's jazz icons will be set right in the middle of a career that spanned from the Roaring Twenties through the Civil Rights Movement. The production will tell the story of a fictional cat traveling on the road with the great Duke Ellington. The audience will see Ellington's life - from the early days in the pool halls to the concert halls performing before crowned heads - through the eyes of a feisty feline who has been there at Ellington's side, sometimes even sitting in with the band.

Hudson Vagabond Puppets (Blauvelt, NY)
Butterfly will be a narrated ballet telling the story of the life cycle of a butterfly for children in pre-Kindergarten through 3rd grade. Three dancers will perform. One dancer will portray the butterfly in all its stages: egg, larvae, caterpillar, cocoon, and butterfly. The other two dancers will play the other insects in the story. The dance sequences will be supported by songs that provide background on the insects and the chain of life events from birth to death.

Jollyship the Whiz-Bang (Brooklyn, NY)
The Colonists is a tightly choreographed visual fantasy, in which audiences are invited to enter the alien world of the bee. Communicating solely through movement, puppetry and music, The Colonists portrays a species of insect with no interest in being neighborly, an insect with electric eyes and mechanical wings, whose impressive work habits and advanced technology soon make them masters of their forest community. Informed by science fiction, silent comedy, and nature documentaries, The Colonists is about trying to empathize with the inscrutable - and making honey.

Nana Projects (Baltimore, MD)
Luna, inspired by the Grimm's fairytale "The Moon," is an original shadow puppet performance using a blend of traditional shadow puppetry and Victorian Magic Lantern shows. Luna's palette and imagery find inspiration local screen painting and draws strength from its connection to a specific local and visual vocabulary. This tale of a man stealing and selling the moon speaks to universal themes: the conflict between rural and urban values, and the dangerous interplay of power and greed.

It's a Bee, Honey
by Erin K. Orr
Photo by Oliver Dalzell

Erin K. Orr (Brooklyn, NY)
It's a Bee, Honey is a musical puppet circus based on the real life drama of honey bees. Using large rod puppets, a real bee hive modified into a puppet theater, a giant tricycle, live harp, accordion and violin, two musicians, two puppeteers and a chorus of children educate their audience about how bees work, communicate, mate, raise their young and die. Workshops offered in tandem with the performance will offer children and their parents the experience of creating and performing with puppets.

Tears of Joy Theatre (Vancouver, WA)
Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio uses a combination of puppets and live actors to tell the story of Pinocchio. Tears of Joy Theatre is creating this production under the direction of Luba Zarembinska, Artistic Director of Station Szamocin in Poland, by using puppet figures and masks based on innovative styles and influences from Eastern Europe.


Brooklyn Academy of Music
Dear Mme. $5,000

HERE Arts Center
2007-2008 Dream Music Puppetry Program $10,000

Japan Society
Dogugaeshi $5,000

The New 42nd Street
Comet in Moominland $5,000 The Wolves in the Walls $5,000 Danish Children's Theater Festival $5,000

The Public Theater
Famous Puppet Death Scenes $5,000

St. Ann's Warehouse
2007 Puppet Lab & Labapalooza $5,000

Theater for the New City
2007 Voice 4 Vision Festival $10,000