Creating theater: A peek behind-the-scenes

Since last summer, slowly and steadily (or more accurately, in spurts between periods of rest), I've been developing a short theater piece involving clothing and puppetry as part of my "Puppet Lab" residency at St. Ann's Warehouse. You can take a look at my early experiments in my first post of the series here.

From the beginning, I wanted to explore how clothing could physically represent the feelings that contained me last year - questions about what it means to be present, to be aware of others' presence, and how I was measuring my own presence. After creating these three sculptural and delightfully absurd garments, I was eager to put them in the hands of master performers in different mediums to see how they could be interpreted. I'm thankful to the following super talented and inspiring performers for playing with me: modern dance choreographer Mary Ellen Beaudreau, puppeteers Andy Manjuck and Dorothy James, puppeteer Lake Simons (and her daughter!), and contemporary mime actors from Broken Box Mimes: Becky Baumwoll, Nick Abeel, Matt Zambrano, and Tasha Milkman.

Lately, I've started rehearsing with two mime actors to develop our short performance, which will be performed at St. Anns Warehouse in Brooklyn February 17-20, 2022. Documentary photographer Yaxi Wang joined the project to document the process of developing the piece. I wanted to share here a few of Yaxi's thoughtful photos. Follow along on the #Fashion+Puppetry hashtag for documentation of the final performance and more behind-the-scenes!


Giant Denim Pant mingling with audience after show

17 layer crinoline pant waiting backstage for tech

Photo by Yaxi wang of Jenny Lai's coat puppet

Actors Nick Abeel and Becky Baumwoll rehearsing at St Anns Warehouse

Actor Nick Abeel with mini pants in his pocket

Actors rehearsing in theater

Two people holding up a multi layered fabric circle.

Photo taken by Yaxi Wang through the trees to spot a giant pant alone against the wall.

A young woman stretches out of a sculpture in the park

Unveiling two actors hidden within the giant pant

Actors playing in the giant denim pant at St. Ann's courtyard

Many layers of sheer crinoline pants

Three mime actors perform in multi-layer crinoline pant.

Revealing the hidden structure underneath

Finger puppets dance on many layers of colorful fabric.

Mime actor in giant denim pant.

synchronized actions in rehearsal

Four actors engage with coat puppet.

The hidden magic behind the coat.

Behindthescenes Fashion+Puppetry

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