Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New Show in Process

[Originally Posted to Yahoo! 360 on February 19]

Taiko (2)

I've been reluctant to make a blog post due to the closure of Yahoo! 360 and our upcoming migration to the new Universal profile. That's just silly. The longer I wait for it to happen the more and more puppetry news slips by. I am not interested in leaving Yahoo. I've made my decision so all that's left is to wait for the new...but that doesn't mean I shouldn't use the old, right?
I've got great news, too. I have been approached by the president of the Aki Matsuri at BCC. They asked me to help out and after a dinner with them we came up with a puppet show plan. I've seen other puppet shows at the Aki Matsuri...they were put on by the Japanese Language school and as you can guess--done entirely in Japanese. But the goal of the Aki Matsuri is to present the Japanese culture to the public--educational in point of fact. They have Taiko and Ikebana lessons you can take. They even go so far as to offer teacher classes on how to present the Japanese culture in the class room. Every presentation in the main room--if done in Japanese--always has a translator. So we thought...why not make the wonderful folk tales from Japan also accessible?
My plan at this time is to do Momotaro with hand puppets--not bunraku style puppets. I'm not that crazy. Three puppeteers to a puppet? I'd never get it off the ground. Besides Thistle Theatre does a lovely Momotaro with American Table Top puppets(which is as close as we get to bunraku here).
I choose Momotaro because I know it best...there's a song involved and there's food as well. I plan to use the stage pictured here. I found the book at the puppetry festival and I've been meaning to get it. The stage built on photography stands is great for me. My Dad was a photographer so I can recycle his stands. I also have my best friend's old curtains to recycle--navy blue.
This is all great stuff but really, I need to write the script. I'm dragging my feet on it though, not my favorite thing to do, you see. Wanna help me out? Read the wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Momotaro
I'm thinking of doing the older version of the story where the old couple are given youth and another chance to start a family...considered not PC. But I can't figure out why. There's no need to show the mechanics of starting a family. Rapunzel begins with a craving that her mother has for a cabbage that leads to her having Rapunzel (which she must give to the witch for payment). Starting a family is found in many stories. Look at Sleeping beauty or Rumpelstiltskin for example. Plus the moral of the story would end up being don't put off children until it's too late...look what a wonderful child they had when magic gave them another chance. Hmm...to whom is such a moral aimed do you think?
On the puppetry side of the issue, I get to make two transforming puppets. Fun!
On the other hand, the PC version is the one that's been around since the Meiji era and is the expected version. I wonder if the sexless springing from the Peach is as required as a lost glass slipper is in Cinderella? Your opinions are welcome. What do you think?

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