Monday, December 28, 2009

I dream in puppets... and a Book of Ballads...

Ok, I don't really dream in puppets, if you are thinking that I am meaning the sleeping kind of dreaming. I often sit and ponder, I have my comfy rocking chair by my book shelf & faerie garden, facing the direction of the fireplace. It's lovely to sit there with a wee cup of mead, my book, the candles on, and watch the log in the fireplace burn merrily away. I will read my books for a while, then drift off in thought, eventually falling into day dream. This is where I dream in puppets.

I have this recent thirst to create giant puppets; and when I say giant, I mean the kind that are around 10 feet high. I have no experience building puppets, but I have a book from the Bread & Puppets society that has some instructions on the many kinds of giant puppets that one can build. Actually it was quite interesting because this thurst of mine started right before Bread & Puppets came to town. Not to say that I have not always loved puppets but the interest in building them is very recent.

Even though puppets are man-crafted and there is really nothing magickal about them except for the performer who brings them to life; I still find giant puppets to have a majestic presence about them that gives me a sense of magick. I can best describe this feeling being a sense of "anything can happen", there is more here then meets the eye.

I have a love of old traditional music from any culture, but in terms of my own singing, I am fond of singing Irish & Scottish traditionals. So I have been toying with ideas about how I can combine all of my interests & skills in one project. I also have alot of creative writing on the back burner, most of it abstract poetry that I keep thinking could make fun performance material. Often I have thought I would like to organize a performance utilizing my work, something with a touch of theatre and circus. But it is challenging to organize anything that involves more then one person and especially if it requires skill, and more so, especially if you want people to collaborate or volunteer. Most of my collaborators are very very busy and their focus, understandably so, is on paid contracts, which are often full time.

So the giant puppets open up some more doors. I have been thinking about doing a short piece to begin with, and there has been some discussion with my friend/collaborator, Marie Dietlin, about doing a stop motion-photography-film project together involving the puppets, body painting & 3-D art, but we have yet to settle on an idea & story. We want the final product to be around 2 minutes.

So I was sitting in my rocking chair in front of my fire reading one of my new books, the "Book of Ballads", it is a collaboration between some of my favourite authors and artists. Charles Vess spearheaded this book; his idea was to make a small comic book series based off of traditional folk ballads. The authors who have contributed to this book are Charles De Lint, Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen, Jeff Smith, Emma Bull, Sharyn McCrumb and more. There is a historical introduction by Terri Windling that is extremely interesting, so much so that I could write an entirely seperate blog posting off that introduction alone (and perhaps at some point I will). Oh yes and there is this excellent list of musicians the authors were listening to while creating their part of the collaboration. The artwork that Charles Vess has created for this book is lovely and stimulating for my imagination.

The Book of Ballads is highly worth reading, especially if you love Irish music, and I do. It also got me thinking further about a pre-exsisting idea I had for the puppets and what direction I wish to head with those puppets. I had already been thinking to do something influenced by old mythology and legends, but it had never crossed my mind to base the puppets off one of my favorite old traditional songs, and this book has the wheels turning in my head that this might be a fun idea, perhaps even for the stop motion film... hhhmmmm....

1 comment:

  1. Puppets, like clowns and monkeys, are evil. Therefore to maximize their potential they should all be built in similar form to the ultimate puppet: Robosaurus!

    Brother Ron

    PS: I do not condone having my comments censored by The Central Scrutinzer for acceptability before they are deemed fit to be published. Free speech does not live in this blog?