Monday, June 17, 2013

GSW10: Toy Theatre Museum

Tess' two theatres on exhibit in the museum...

The festival has a Temporary Toy Theatre Museum that is available for viewing during the entire run.  Read below all about it, and the opening day's parade, as reported by Tess Elliott:

This is a playful crowd at the 10th International Toy Theater Festival. It starts with a Miniature Parade, complete with a band, marching with care around Dumbo, and ended at St. Ann's Warehouse with a wonderful imaginative crowd of mini floats, made by children and professionals alike. I only got a few pictures of the floats, because sadly this year most of the participants took their toys right home, instead of leaving them for display! I was so sad to see them go. After that, the Temporary Toy Theater Museum opened and people flocked in to see all the wonderful interpretations of Toy Theater from art pieces, old classics, and working theaters. There is a lot of beautiful work here, and I am biased because I have two pieces in the show myself. I am mostly here writing about the performances, but will try to cover some of my favorite pieces in the museum because building them is what floats my boat.

Serving punch at the reception in the lobby, you can see what a creative crowd this is: within minutes children and then adults were turning the lobby fan into a theater or a puppet, depending on which side you were on. It was great fun watching hot people of all ages stop and sing into the blades to hear that funny cut apart staccato the blades cause. I remember doing that as a kid a lot—humming, singing. So I am not writing as a critic. I am a passionate fan, an open admirer of all efforts to move me, make me think or feel something whether it's through primitive & charming cardboard cut-outs, traditional toy theater, or modern technically enhanced pieces with video and contemporary politics. They all embrace humor or tragedy, they are all passionate. It's about time we looked at our world with a willingness to play to counter a world at war, with soldiers and civilians dying every day. There is far too much unwillingness to be moved, even by death. So I invite all people to stop and engage with your local artists, enjoy them, embrace their efforts to spin a tale, and share what inspired their vision. You might come away richer, happier and more thoughtful. How bad is that?

To see Tess' theatres up close with commentary, check them out below:

This is the Commedia dell'Arte Toy Theater, with the flash to show you the true color. I plan to tart up the walls behind the balconies on the door, and add two inner balconies as well. They will be lit, and I decided a small spot light is needed as well.
Here is the same theater without the flash so you can see the lights. There will be more lights and this theater will used the old fashioned, hand-moved characters. I decided to go with rod puppets in the future, which means a top front facade to hid the groove where the rod puppets go in.
This is the Steampunk Captain Nemo Toy Theater. I decided to leave off the back part of the curtain, since people can get close to see the whole set. But it will have a curtain (the wires were taped to the side wall. The tall aquarium plants are attached to a rod which can be rocked back and forth to look like a real underwater scene. I thought perhaps a thin blue skrim might be a good addition but have not made up my mind. One puppeteer rocks the rods, one or two puppeteers operate the characters. The new black Rosco supersaturated velour black paint is superior for the "black box" effect.
This is the same theater without the flash but you can really see how great the lights look--slowly blinking LEDs at different rates. They can also be rocked just like the scenery! I promise to make a video with my tripod. It's the only way to get focus in this kind of lighting.