Over the past year-and-a-half, FST artists have partnered with the Island Institute to work with students from the one-room schoolhouse islands off the coast of Maine: Cliff, Isle au Haut, Islesford, Frenchboro, Matinicus, and Monhegan.
In the spring of 2015, Director of Education Ian Bannon taught the students documentary gathering techniques, which they used to find their favorite oral history from each island. This past fall, four FST artists returned to each island to spend two days filming shadow puppetry adaptations of each of the stories.
This collaboration has culminated in a 35-minute shadow puppet film, The Art of Memory, which combines full-scale silhouettes, over-sized caricature masks, puppets, and a mesmerizing depth of field and textures. The film is driven by a beautiful score from FST affiliate artist Dave Noyes as well as narration from some of Portland’s best voiceover actors.
The Bar Harbor screening will be the first of three mainland screenings. The film will be followed by a short Behind the Scenes documentary and Q&A.
The show is appropriate for all ages, perhaps even more so for adults, who will appreciate the historical underpinnings of the stories as well as the engaging visuals and music!
Last night was the first island screening out here on Isle au Haut. We had about 30 or so folks show up for the potluck. The audience loved the movie and found plenty of laughs. It was described as engaging, multi-layered, and sculptural. The behind the scenes documentary tugged at heart strings. Everything you hope for.
Then Parker Waite stepped up and floored all of us.
He talked for 40 minutes about laying the powerline from Isle au Haut to Stonington, splicing the sections at sea along the seven-mile length, his thousands of hours diving on the ocean floor from Vinylhaven to MDI, about rescuing a leatherback turtle that circled his ship three times in gratitude…he was an amazing storyteller. He even brought a length of the cable with him. He said that laying that line was one of the things he’s most proud of in life and he was just delighted to get a chance to speak to people about it.
The islanders truly honored him for his work. Most of them had never heard the story before. Quotes bandied about afterwards ran something like, “That was the most historically informative event in my 30 years on the island.” Parker thanked me as he left.
Last night is what this project was about. Thank you for the stories!
Casey Turner joined FST artists Ian Bannon and Dave Noyes in the studio to record voiceover narration for one of the stories in The FOSSE’s upcoming shadow puppet documentary, The Art of Memory. Little did she know that she’d land in the recording studio of Rustic Overtones, one of her favorite bands growing up. Rock on, Casey!
The world premiere of the little match girl passion was welcomed with sold out performances despite a storm that knocked out power to 25,000 Mainers. We are completely overwhelmed with the response and so pleased to have shared this weekend with you!
“the little match girl passion” had its first public showing at Bates College on June 19 and 20. Thanks to all who came to the workshop production and shared feedback with us. Pictured here are the Grandmother (Carol Farrell) and the Little Match Girl (Ian Bannon, Laura Collard and Dylan Rohman, puppeteers).
All photos by Phyllis Graber Jensen, Director of Photography and Video at Bates College.
We invite you to our first public showing of this exquisite new work-in-progress, inspired by David Lang’s composition for four singers and percussion, in which the classic Hans Christian Andersen story of The LittleMatchGirl is paired with texts from Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.
To Figures of Speech Theatre’s signature weave of actors and puppets, filmmaker Derek Kimball adds video imagery of dreamlike beauty. The resulting work is a visionary fusion of astonishing music and visual poetry, powered by mystery and metaphor.
“And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” —T.S. Eliot
FST’s John Farrell returns to his hometown of Concord, Massachusetts, for a noontime, July 15 recitation of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets at 51 Walden, Concord’s performing arts consortium. The Egg Rock String Quartet will introduce the recitation with a performance of Beethoven’s Heiliger Dankgesang, a piece Eliot loved.
The event honors Tama and Jiro Ishihara, longtime supporters of 51 Walden, who were John’s next door neighbors from 1954, when the neighborhood was built, to 1965, when John’s family moved to Holland.
Some 28 years later, John stopped by the old neighborhood and found Mr. Ishihara working in the backyard garden. John re-introduced himself and they immediately hit it off. Tama and Jiro became enthusiastic supporters of FST’s work, sponsoring a performance of Dragon’s Daughter at 51 Walden, and traveling to Maine to see She Who Loves and Anerca. John’s renewed friendship with Tama and Jiro lasted until the couple’s passing, in 2005 and 2012, respectively.
July 15, 2015, Wednesday, at 12:00 Noon
Suggested donation: $10
All proceeds from the performance will benefit 51 Walden.
FST’s Artistic Director John Farrell has been invited to lead a puppetry workshop in August as part of the 24th annual Ko Festival in Amherst, Massachusetts. John will lead participants in an exploration of various forms of puppetry as they discover what it means to embody metaphor in performance.
Participants will begin working with basic materials, then proceed to objects, and finally construct their own bunraku style puppets. After learning the basic principles of animation, participants will work in small groups to devise increasingly ambitious and complex gestural “scripts” as they explore thematic arcs such as Life/Death/Resurrection. Throughout the workshop, John will interweave poetry with the puppetry, encouraging participants to play with the relationship between the literary and visual metaphors inherent in these two forms. The workshop will culminate in a sharing of devised work and participants will leave with their bunraku puppet and a sense of how this method of creating theater can be incorporated into their own practice.
The workshop will take place August 3-8, 2015 from 10:00-4:00 on the campus of Amherst College.
To find out more about Ko Festival and register for the workshop visit their website: http://kofest.com/john-farrell-image-object-puppet-workshop/