||Isaac Bell, John Bell and Trudi Cohen of Great Small Works (the Boston wing): Three Books in the Garden, which looks to an inspiring period of cultural tolerance between Muslims, Jews and Christians in the 11th century in Spain.
Brian Selznick (NYC) brings to life The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, a Caldecott-winning children's book which he illustrated. Through images that appear in books and in cabinets that open by themselves, he tells the story of the man who presented the first life-size models of dinosaurs to a disbelieving public.
Insurrection Landscapers Adam Cook, Clare Dolan and Jason Norris (Vermont): Historic Reenactment of World War III by veterans of puppetista activism and innovation.
Robert Poulter, New Model Theatre (England): The master of contemporary European toy theater presents The Loyal 47, an Englishman's recreation of a non-existent Japanese paper theater play, based on the most-performed play of all time in Japan, Chushingura.
January 3rd, 4th 10:30 PM
The Thumb Company Jana Zeller and Zak Grace (Vermont): Sensational Pygmy Prodigies, inspired by the true story of four midgets from New England, including Tom Thumb, who rose to fame under the great showman P.T. Barnum.
Clare Dolan and her Go-Go Girl for President Theater (Vermont): The Opposite of Happiness, a desperate, wily masterpiece using toy theater technique and texts from Melville, DeToqueville, Hank Williams and LeFargue.
Jonathan Berger (NYC): the noble fir series: souvenir, a prologue. A blizzard, a fevered recollection, a house of beekeepers, a disaster on the tundra. With Jenny Romaine and Clare Dolan.
Dave Buchen (Chicago and San Juan): The Popular Puppeteer, a cantastoria pop-up piece with musicians Chris Schoen and Chad Southard.
Liz Joyce (Long Island): The Crispy Tale of St. Crispin and Crispinian or The Cobblers that Just Wouldn't Die.
Daniel Lang/Levitsky (NYC): Samson, based on oral history text from a young Palestinian citizen of Israel having trysts with Israeli soldiers at the same time he is participating in the 1987 intifada.
January 5th, 2 PM and 4 PM
Host: Jenny Romaine
Great Small Works (NYC): Our Kitchen, with Roberto Rossi, Trudi Cohen and John Bell. Kitchen cabinets open to reveal the origins of ingredients for a young hero's pancake breakfast.
Brian Selznick (Brooklyn): The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins (see above). Book signing with the illustrator after the performances!
January 9th, 10th, 11th 8:00 PM
Great Small Works John Bell, Trudi Cohen, Stephen Kaplin, Jenny Romaine, Roberto Rossi and Mark Sussman (NYC): Toy Theater of Terror As Usual, Episode 11: Crusade? The latest installment of the group's surreal news-based series, torn from today's headlines.
Jon Bankert (NY): Franciscan Friar performs Tales of St. Francis, three short stories from the many legends surrounding the life of St. Francis of Assissi: Perfect Joy, The Wolf of Gubbio, and St. Francis' own ecstatic poem of creation, The Canticle of the Creatures. Bankert sings the text, set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan.
Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews of Shoddy Puppet Company (Philadelphia): The Plane. The Global South receives winged visitors bearing strange cargo, cargo which will change the landscape forever.
Sam Hack (NYC), in Isolation Island, part 3 (natural selection), returns to the island to observe birds' and dogs' evolutionary relationships as birds bury bones and dogs dive for fish. Music and sound design by David Patterson.
Meredith Holch (Vermont): Spoon, her latest Lo-Tech, No-Budget animation. Magazine cut-outs, miniature toys and kitchen utensils get embroiled in a political melee reflecting mounting sentiments of domestic unrest, with a raucous and irreverent soundtrack by amateur musicians.
January 10th and 11th 10:30 PM
Torgeir Stueng, Salongteater Oslo (Norway): Primary school teacher "Totto" performs The Crossing, based on a fairy tale by H.C. Andersen, a mixture of personal-history modern storytelling and 19th-century traditional model theater.
Puppeteer Basil Twist (NYC) will unveil a new toy theater work.
Sanae Maeda (Japan) uses cut-out colored paper to present her contemporary interpretation of "kami-shibai," a Japanese picture-storytelling tradition popular in the mid 20th century.
J.E. Cross of the Cosmic Bicycle Theatre (NYC): IX, a new shadow box creation by this master of puppets invented from antiquated objects and machinery.
Janie Geiser (Los Angeles): The Secret Story, a short film by this puppeteer, toy theater enthusiast, graphic artist and filmmaker extraordinaire; alternating with Lewis Klahr (Los Angeles): The Pharoah's Belt: The Cake Excerpt, a short film.
January 12th 2:00 and 4:00 PM
Host: Roberto Rossi
Torgeir Stueng, Salongteater Oslo (Norway): The Crossing (see above).
Judith O'Hare and You and Me Puppets (Boston): two Petit Puppet Plays, The Three Bears, or a Bed and Breakfast in the Woods and Three Pigs, or It Takes a Woman, using classic tales to engage children in consideration of their own lives.
David Worobec (Boston), a 14-year-old with a passion for operas, musicals, and toy theater, performs selections from his complete plays of Kiss Me Kate, A Little Night Music and Richard Rogers' Blue Moon.
January 16th, 17th and 18th,
7:00 PM (note time difference!)
Great Small Works John Bell, Trudi Cohen, Jenny Romaine, Roberto Rossi and Mark Sussman (NYC) with Michael Romanyshyn: B.B. in L.A., the remarkable culture clash when Bertolt Brecht met Los Angeles at the time of the Second World War. With live orchestra and songs, and a narrative culled from Brecht's diaries and HUAC testimony.
Toni Schlesinger (NYC): Lobster Village with puppeteers Erin Eagar and Matt Acheson and musicians Chris Green and Rima Fand. On the cold gray shores of the northern Atlantic, Inspector Mist investigates a ticking sound and comes upon strange occurrences...
Peter Schauerte-Lüke (Germany) of the Papiertheater Don Giovanni, Kåthchen & Company, direct from his small theater in a castle near Cologne. Gottesurteil, a legend about a knight accused of murder and awaiting God's judgment.
Puppeteers Cooperative/Inforama Sara Peattie and Theresa Linnihan (Boston): Godzilla's Dream. Renowned for large-scale puppets, this company finds a home here in the miniature.
January 17th and 18th, 10:30 PM
Emily Anderson and Michael Ficociello (Vermont): the Association for the Revival of Moralistic Programming for Children presents Davey and Goliath in a contemporary political satire performed on a two-tiered stage featuring the offices of heaven and hell.
Le petit théatre de l'absolu Scott Gilmore, Gabriel Levine, Julie Nouvellon and Hermine Ortega (Montreal): Demolition Polka, a fable of resistance and destruction, with images and songs from 19th-century Paris.
Damiano Giambelli of Teatro del Corvo (Italy): The Knight and the Dragons, showing how a knight, after fighting many dragons, finds that the worst dragons are the ones inside himself. Dragons, mermaids, a knight, and witchcraft!
Michael Romanyshyn (Maine): The Peloponnesian War (As Told by Thucydides) with commentary by Victor Davis Hanson. A history for the reflective and sober generations not yet born.
Paulo Duarte (Portugal): Deep News, a voyage in a pop-up book, delving deeper and deeper, desperately trying to find some good news.
January 19th, 2:00 and 4:00 PM
Host: Jenny Romaine
Great Small Works (NYC): Yankee Circus in Outer Space. See a miniature circus company struggle with issues of deception and greed, featuring Aurora and her trained horses, the King of Mars, and twin brothers on the high wire!
Sally Fisher and Howie Leifer (NYC): I'm Someone Else! depicts the very different lives of two cats who are accidentally switched in an elevator and need to adjust to each other's environments. With Music by Mary Feinsinger.
Be sure to visit the amazing TEMPORARY TOY THEATER MUSEUM, in the HEREart Galleries. The finest examples of historical and contemporary toy theaters, representing nearly 100 artists and collectors. On display from January 2nd through 25th. Opening reception on January 4, from 5 to 7 PM. Curated and designed by Alessandra Nichols.
The TOY THEATER SYMPOSIUM will be held on Saturday, January 4, 2003, at 2PM.. Artists, historians, and practitioners of toy theater discuss the miniature, the duplicated image, and the proscenium frame as they were used in the past, and their possibilities for the future. Participants include artists Jonathan Berger and Nancy Fried, dramaturg Norman Frisch, English toy theater master Robert Poulter, puppeteer Clare Dolan, and historian John Bell as moderator.The symposium is free and open to the public.
TOY THEATER WORKSHOPS on Saturdays January 11th and January 18th from 2 to 5 PM. Learn from the masters about the history and construction of toy theater stages and puppets, then make your own story in a box. Tickets: $25 for adults, $10 for children.
Special YOUTH NIGHT on Wednesday January 15th at 6:30 PM. Public school students from EBC Bushwick High School in Brooklyn and Landmark High School in Manhattan present shows created in toy theater workshops conducted by members of Great Small Works. Adaptations of Spanish-language texts by Lorca and "In the Time of the Butterflies."
Support for the Toy Theater Festival has been provided by the Kornfeld Foundation, the Henson International Festival of Puppet Theater, Cheryl Henson, NYSCA, NEA and individual donors. This production is part of HERE's Visiting Artist Program, which provides commissions and support through our festivals and series.
Illustration by Erica Harris