Shadows and Sound

Bring shadow puppets to the people! Shadow puppetry is a rich and timeless artform that is unparalleled in its ability to be captivating. All the puppets are made and manipulated by hand, and the result is a live, cinematic experience that unfolds before you. People of all ages hold their breath as they watch even the simplest actions: a bird fly, a person sip tea, the wind blow weeds in a meadow. The result is the perfect medium for telling poetic stories about humanity and our world full of complexities, imagination, spectres, false trails, deception, and beauty.

I want to buy and build the equipment to take traveling shadow puppet shows to schools, afterschools, libraries, and more. Students will be able to see premade shows about literary themes, ecology, and history. During week-long residencies, students will also learn how to research, develop, and make their own shows from hand cutting the puppets to learning how to pan between multiple light sources for dramatic effect.

I also would like to develop a show that shares the diversity and joy of music with elementary schoolers, illustrated through shadow puppetry. An austere raven flying alone to the sound of the melancholy piano and a mournful tenor illustrates Schuberts "Die Krähe"; A bustling city with more things to look at than you have time to see, accompanied by Billy Strayhorn's "A-Train". Kids will encounter genres of music that span the globe and learn how the character of the music changes with different timbres and combinations of instruments. They won't even realize they're learning, though, because they'll be too busy being captivated by the story and sound! Many musicians and artists began their fascination with these artforms through the Disney movie "Fantasia" - this project seeks to get kids jumping out of their chairs with excitement for where art and music meet.

Funded by Raleigh-Durham, NC (July 2019)