Sunday, January 30, 2011

Toy Theatre Influence: Flash Menu

Still shot from interactive flash menu, featuring toy theater-like graphics
[Click to enlarge...]
I was introduced to a magical place yesterday.  The worlds it shares takes you beyond the mundane.  It is a magical place where you forget about things like homework, jobs, or bills, and your imagination can run wild.  It calls itself  "...a studio for the imagination."

Take their website, for instance.  When you arrive, you're immersed in a virtual world of castles and ships, hot air balloons and kites, with a road full of travelers coming and going.  If you move your cursor to the left or the right, the scene moves in that direction, and you are introduced to new landscapes, peoples, and goings on.  Visitors will discover that the scenes are, in actual fact, a very clever and fun interactive menu system, featuring toy theatre-like graphics.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The People You're Not Exhibition

Amy Winehouse character
Opening this weekend is a wonderfully satirical, creative, thought-provoking, and amusing exhibition that features toy theatre as part of its realization.

The People You're Not exhibition can be briefly described as "...a satirical trip through the private and public faces of fame, from the first heady days of idolisation and adoring fans, via rock and roll alter-egos, excess and media mockery to dysfunction, introversion and the eccentric depths of the celebrity soul."

Proposed by Harry Hill, realised by Bren O’Callaghan, the goal was to recreate George Cruikshank's THE WORSHIP OF BACCHUS using known alcoholics.

From the gallery's website, it is further described as "...Victorian satire meets Heat Magazine as six illustrators put a contemporary spin on scenes from George Cruikshank’s famous 1860 painting exposing the evils and horrors of alcohol. ‘Performers’ such as Kerry Katona and Liza Minnelli, Courtney Love and George Best, Oliver Reed and Lindsay Lohan are given centre stage in six large-scale Victorian-style toy theatres, setting the scene for cautionary tales of drunken celebrity clich├ęs and the pitfalls of the demon drink.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

1st Annual Online-Only Toy Theatre Festival?

An excellent example of computer-animated toy theatre is 
Nigel Peever's production of The Corsican Brothers

Recently on the Toy Theatre Yahoo Group, a member mentioned the following idea:
What does everyone think about holding an online TT festival?
It could include performances via YouTube or Vimeo, or even web cam if anyone would fancy trying something live.
We could post images, scripts, proposals etc
There are several sites where one can hold online conferences, for presentations, abstracts and papers.
It might be easier than a physical event to start with?
Any takers?
I think it's a marvelous idea.  An idea whose time has not only come, but is long overdue.

Overall  response so far has been modest but enthusiastic. There was some concern about it being 'only' an online festival, with recorded performance versus live performance (albeit by video, not in-person).  However, as it was further discussed in the online group - and the original poster suggested - why not both?

Another aspect of a virtual festival beside the the recorded vs live, is that there could be virtual (animated - handmade or computer) versus 'real' or physical performances.

It goes without saying that variety is the spice of life, yet tradition is something to preserve.  That said, both traditional theatres and/or plays would be presented, but innovative, avant-garde, or experimental theatre-of-the-small should be encouraged, also.

What say you, Dear Readers?  Anyone interested in taking part?  It's early days, but the world toy theatre community would love to hear from you if you'd like to participate in any capacity - design, performance, 'backstage', technical, etc.  If you don't know who to contact, let me know and I'll put you in touch...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Elephant Man Toy Theatre

I ran across an amazing original toy theatre production about real life personality, Joseph Merrick, better known as the "Elephant Man".  Created by artist and writer Scot D. Ryersson, the detail of the the creation is amazing!
Joseph Merrick: A Three Act Tragedy (inspired by the legend of Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man) – Handmade, antiqued cardboard & paper vellum Victorian toy theatre, based upon an original design in the collection of the Theatre Museum, London; battery-operated miniature white lights; LED flickering candle; pewter figurine.
Read more (and see more) about it on Scot's blog...