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Ten Days of Nothing But Puppets

Warhol puppet by David Michael Friend, from "Warhol™"
Photo: Drama of Works

Puppet from William Yeats' "Purgatory," part of "The Traveler" by Dramaton Theater
Photo: Dramaton Theater

"How I Fixed My Engine With Rosewater" by John Dyer, Rima Fand, Brendan McMahon, Erin Orr and Lake Simons. L-R: Brendan McMahon. Lake Simons, and Erin Orr
Photo: Oliver Dalzel
by Jonathan Slaff

Third Voice 4 Vision Puppet Festival At The Theater For The New City October 12 - 22, 2006

The Third Annual Voice 4 Vision Puppet Festival will be presented October 12 - 22 by Theater for the New City to celebrate the work of a unique group of New York artists who have been creating dynamic puppet theater for many years. Theater for the New City is dedicated to presenting cross-disciplinary theatrical works and to developing audiences that support local New York artists; this festival is wonderfully suited to that mission. The festival is co-curated by Jane Catherine Shaw and Sarah Provost.

The festival will include the following works: "The Traveler" by Dramaton Theater; "Warhol™" by Drama of Works; "How I Fixed My Engine with Rose Water" by John Dyer, Rima Fand, Brendan McMahon, Erin Orr, and Lake Simons; and "Slow Ascent" by Anna Kiraly and Kuba Gontarczyk. Week 1 ends in "Puppets on Film," featuring works by individual artists, and "Handmade Puppet Dreams," a collection of short films by independent artists curated by Heather Henson. Week 2 ends in "Puppet Art Attacks," a puppetry slam for short works of genius by a variety of puppet artists. There will be an installation of puppets created by New York artists on display in the theater lobby throughout the two-week festival.

The participants in this festival are all award-winning artists who create original works of their own and contribute their performing and conceptual talents to significant large-scale works by other contemporary puppet theater artists and groups. The festival will include new works and works of merit that have been seen briefly in New York in the past few years and deserve to be shared with a wider New York audience.

The festival is supported by the Jim Henson Foundation and the Norman and Rosita Winston Foundation.


1. "Warhol™" by Drama of Works

Oct. 12 @ 8:00, Oct. 13 @ 9:30, Oct. 14 @ 8:00, Oct. 15 @ 4:30

The piece explores the many enigmas in Warhol's life that made him the fascinating icon he is today. Andrew Warhola, before the nose job and legal name change, was a sweet gifted boy who loved his mother. The irony, of course, is that he was the same sweet gifted boy who loved his mother the day he died. Society loves to believe he was a sex-obsessed druggie and party-hopper who lived on the fringe. As with many pop icons, the truth doesn't really matter, does it? We watch as Warhol is transformed from an art student to his own artistic creation. Drama of Works actually had to pay a fee to make a puppet of the man, as his likeness is copyrighted. How does this happen to a person?

"Warhol™" explores these contradictions as a beautiful bunraku-style puppet of Warhol emerges from the first of a series of boxes. It turns out that these boxes were cleverly disguised time capsules from his life. The puppet goes on to open each box with the help of his three puppeteers. Then he observes and looks back on his life and what he has become, as scenes from his past come literally out of the boxes. Objects of consumerism depicted in his paintings come to life and speak to him or act out memories, helped by the fourth Warhol-clad puppeteer. The piece has no spoken dialogue, but a sound design including quotes from his infamous interviews, sounds from his past, as well as iconic disco music, sounds of the New York street and more.

Created by Drama of Works, directed by Gretchen Van Lente, Warhol puppet by David Michael Friend, sound design by Jill DuBoff.

2. "Slow Ascent" by Anna Kiraly and Kuba Gontarczyk

Oct. 12 @ 9:30, Oct. 13 @ 8:00, Oct. 14 @ 9:30, Oct. 15 @ 3:00

A psychological mystery with apocalyptic themes and a tormented, existential hero. Reality, imagination, and nightmarish apparitions converge. A beautifully mysterious story investigates the effect of cataclysms on the hero. The piece is told through shadow puppetry, complex soundscapes, music, and a live actor.

Directed by Anna Kiraly, designed by Anna Kiraly and Kuba Gontarczyk. Sound and Music by Joemca. Prologue story told by Allan Walker.

3. "How I Fixed My Engine with Rose Water" by John Dyer, Rima Fand, Brendan McMahon, Erin Orr and Lake Simons

Oct. 19 @ 8:00, Oct. 20 @ 9:30, Oct. 21 @ 8:00, Oct. 22 @ 4:30

Images unfold and sounds swirl as survival and transience are explored through physical storytelling, puppetry/object theatre, and live musical themes. Chaos verses serenity.

Created and performed by John Dyer, Rima Fand, Brendan McMahon, Erin Orr, and Lake Simons. Additional staging by Chad Lynch. Puppets, objects and costumes by Lake Simons. Music Composed and Performed by John Dyer and Rima Fand.

4. "The Traveler" by Dramaton Theater

Oct. 19 @ 9:30, Oct. 20 @ 8:00, Oct. 21 @ 9:30, Oct. 22 @ 3:00

"The Traveler" is a trilogy of ghost stories that follow vagabonds on the road between "here" and "there," confronting forces that hold them back in their journey. It opens with "The Road," an adaptation of Richard Middleton's "On the Brighton Road" (1911), in which a tramp awakens on a snow-covered road, wondering how he got there. A young boy that might have the answer he seeks soon joins him. In the second tale, William Yeats' "Purgatory" (1922), a desperate father tries to redeem himself and his son by ending the cycle of transgression that has defined their lives. The final tale, "K," was written for Dramaton Theater by Enma Ito, Artistic Director of Fantoma Theater Company of Osaka, Japan, and translated by Shima Ushiba. The faceless ghost of a painter and a nameless street-wise alley cat help each other awaken their identities in a lonely world. Dramaton Theater uses a minimalist design with an original style of puppetry and an evocative soundscape, transforming the stage into a threshold between life and the beyond.

Created and Performed by Ken Berman and Frankie Cordero. Performed also by Sarah Frechette. "The Road" and "K" Directed by Ken Berman and Frankie Cordero. "Purgatory" directed and "K" co-directed by Tim Lee. Sound Design by Mark Berman. Lighting Design by Michael Spitzer. "Purgatory" performed with permission by Samuel French, Ltd.

5. "Puppets on Film"

10/15 at 8:00 pm (special price: $8). Followed by Q&A hosted by Heather Henson.

A provocative, challenging, and savvy collection of puppet shorts created by the next generation of small-scale artists. Features "Handmade Puppet Dreams" plus works by individual artists. "Handmade Puppet Dreams," curated by Heather Henson, is a touring festival of independent artists' films exploring the art of handmade craft especially for cinema. It has been shown at the Cannes Marche' du Film 2006, the 30th Annual Atlanta Film Festival, and the Rhode Island Film Festival.

6. "Puppet Art Attacks"

10/22 at 8:00 (special price: $8)

A puppetry slam of 3-5 minute "short works of genius" by a variety of puppet artists.


October 12 - 22

Theater for the New City, 155 First Ave. (at E. 10th St.)

Presented by Theater for the New City, Crystal Field, Executive Artistic Director

Plays: $15.00. "Puppet Art Attacks" and "Puppets on Film" $8. With Passport to Puppet Theater, returnees get $2 discount at all subsequent shows of this festival (but no discounts for "Puppets on Film" and "Puppet Art Attacks").

Box office (212) 254-1109; online ticketing available at www.theaterforthenewcity.net

SCHEDULES OF INDIVIDUAL WORKS: See table at end of this document.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: performances at 8:00 & 9:30 pm. Sunday: performances at 3:00, 4:30 & 8:00 pm.

Festival website


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