Friday, June 25, 2010

Wrap up report of the O'Neill conference

My week at the O'Neill Puppetry Conference was so packed with puppetry, that there wasn't a spare moment to update you on all the wonderful goings-on. But now, with the conference behind me, I can give the full scoop.

Roxie, Jon Little and myself got to participate in three separate tracks of the conference. I'll let them fill the readers in on the Video Anarchy and the Flock Theatre facets of the conference.

Myself, I participated in the ensemble production. This year was a special one, the 20th anniversary of the conference. In honor of the occasion, we created a show using one puppet from each year of the conference so far. These ranged from marionettes to masks to a Muppet (yes, an actual practice Muppet from the Henson Company, from the first year of the conference). 20 performers and three directors worked together to create one show that would bring all of these very different puppets together.

Besides that project, the conference hosted master classes every day with experts in writing, movement, and other facets for creating a show, as well as celebrity guests like Noel MacNeal from Bear in the Big Blue House, and Kathy Mullen from Fraggle Rock (both have worked on a number of Henson and other puppet productions).

Conference goers also created about two dozen participant projects, short puppet performances created entirely that week.

To name all the names of the amazing people who attended, taught and facilitated that week would take pages. Let me just say that I was surrounded by folks, both staff and participants, who were not just incredibly talented, but also incredibly open and eager to share their knowledge and skills. By the end of the week, I was exhausted by the almost impossibly full schedule but also excited about everything I had seen and learned.

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