Monday, May 27, 2013

ShadowLight Productions Brings Shadows to Scale

In my discussion with Larry Reed of ShadowLight Productions about the difference between traditional and contemporary Shadow Theatre he said, "traditional Shadow Theatre is mostly language based while Contemporary Shadow Theatre is more image based" In light of this comment watch the videos below and see why Larry Reed has been so influential in Contemporary Shadow Theatre.

Thanks to Larry Reed for donating a series of ShadowLight Productions videos to Shadow Liberation! For more videos check out ShadowLight Productions on YouTube, and for the DIY crowd, they have put out a Shadow Theatre Manual.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

3D Shadows of Christine Marie

Christine Marie is a director and experimental shadow artist. She pioneering the use of large scale 3D shadows. The 3D effect is stereoscopic (red/blue) like old school 3D. Christine is interested in inviting the psyche into her work though symbolism, movement, and dimensionality. No Puppets, only objects. She thinks about her work in cinematic language, and while she uses haiku in her devising process, there is no spoken dialogue in her shows.

The following video is from Signaling Arcana/4Trains, Christine Marie's latest work centered around an intimate relationship impacted by structured time, trade and industrialization brought about through the introduction of the train.

Stay up with Christine Marie on Facebook and Vimeo

Collage Shadows

What happens when you take old art slide show transparencies, a hand full of overhead projectors and group of high school students? Thanks to Todd Elkin, Arts Educator, at Washington High School in Fremont, CA, we were able to visually mash-up shadows with found images on a large scale.

I started the day by giving a Shadow Liberation presentation, and setting a context for the use of Shadow Theatre for Social Justice. The rest of the day was dedicated to visual play in the school theatre.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gamelan Sekar Jaya

After a few years, I caught up with Sarah Wilner of Gamelan Sekar Jaya, a sixty-member company of musicians and dancers, practicing traditional performing arts of Bali. We met at their studio in Berkeley, with beautiful instruments and an Overhead Projector Shadow Theatre set-up for the youth.

The previous video is of Kawit Legong: Prince Karna's Dream, a collaboration between Gamelan Sekar Jaya and ShadowLight Productions. The following video, Creatures of Balinese Mythology, was performed at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

See more on the Gamelan Sekar Jaya Vimeo, or their Facebook page

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Manual Cinema in Chicago

In a warehouse studio, Manual Cinema is in the early stages of rehearsing their upcoming show, ADA/AVA, which will debut June 13th-16th in the Pivot Arts Festival. Their clean, fast paced, heavily film influenced style of nonverbal shadow theatre is magnificent. 

ADA/AVA has 3 active overhead projectors, facilitating quick cuts, smooth fades and lucid double exposures, while a 4th overhead projector comes in at times for special effects.

In my conversation with Sarah Fornace she said "We live in a society where we see 2 dimensional images all the time without thinking critically about it. In shadow puppetry you can see the seems." Hanging out with Manual Cinema defiantly got me thinking creatively about how images are constructed.

Now for the video. Check out this music video they did for eighth blackbird.

Here's the trailer for their latest production, Lula Del Ray

If you're in Chicago you can see Lula Del Ray at Theater on the Lake, June 26th - 30th. Don't forget to like the Manual Cinema on Facebook for updates, and check them out on Vimeo for more videos.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Shadow Jam in Vancouver

The sun was reflecting off the snow capped peaks in the distance as I entered an industrial building in Vancouver, Canada for my first encounter with a Shadowjam. For 8 years now Mind of Snail has been putting on these fully participatory improvisations at the intersection of music, shadow puppets and storytelling. 

It started with a Potluck, then as the sun went down, we crafted shadow puppets out of old cardboard, plastic waste and color cellophane sheets. Once it was dark we gathered in a circle and tuned into the light and sound that was already in the space, before collaboratively improvising stories with light and sound. It's often described by participants as a shared dream.

I was excited to finally meet Jessica G and Chloe Z (Mind of Snail), compost-modern puppeteers, and I was blown away when they brought me along for a film shoot of their show, The Whales Back. Watching them weave a magical underwater world through music and cleaver shadow effects was truly inspiring. The video isn't out yet, but here is an old trailer with some of their work. Get their updates on the Mind of a Snail Facebook Page.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dark Materials in Seattle

I met Nick Hubbard (Dark Materials) in a Seattle cafe today, and I chatted him up about Shadow Theatre. Nick said, "Puppets in general and shadows even more so have an inherent quality of magic and wonder." He went on "because the images aren't fully fleshed out there is room for us to build our own imaginative interpretation of the image, which helps stories solidify in our memory."

Nick is currently the President of Puppeteers of America, and as established as that may seem, he is all about experimentation. We spoke about overhead projectors, moving light sources, various materials and screen textures. The pictures in this post come from the Dark Materials Flickr, and you can see his updates on Dark Materials Facebook.

Check out the video reel of puppetry design and performance work by Nick, 2008-2011.