We’re taking a little bit of a break from blogging here at the Flying Box. Please join our newsletter list or follow us on Facebook if you’d like to get our latest news about upcoming shows and workshops. À bientôt!
We’ve had a busy week here at the Flying Box Theatre getting ready for the first performance of Prince Dung Beetle at the Centaur Theatre Children’s Series this Saturday!
Here’s a sneak peek of some of our new puppet friends:
The performance is on Saturday, April 9 at 10:30am at the Centaur Theatre. Tickets are $6.00 for kids and $8.00 for adults, and can be reserved by calling 514-288-3161
Hope to see you there!
We are taking the show on the road! The Flying Box Theatre will be making a short trip to Eastern Ontario for shows on June 13 and 14, in McDonald’s Corners, Sharbot Lake and Perth.
Saturday June 13, 2015
1:00 – Puppet-making Workshop
5:30 – Performance
MERA ArtsFest, McDonald’s Corners, ON
Sunday June 14, 2015
10:00 – Performance – Sharbot Lake Municipal Beach (Sharbot Lake, ON)
Admission : Free!
1:30 – Performance – Perth and District Union Library (Perth, ON)
Admission: By Donation
The Girl Giant was the very first marionette that Jesse and I built for this project, all the way back October of last year. We were lucky enough to have the help of Lydia Lorrain, animator and miniaturist extraordinaire, as we stumbled our way through the building process. Lydia sculpted the head and hands of the Girl Giant puppet, Jesse built the body, and I made the costume, so it was definitely a collaborative effort!
We told the Girl Giant’s story in our initial short showings last fall, and she has made a reappearance this spring as part of the cast of Hans Dudldee and Other Forgotten Fairytales. This time I got to be the puppeteer, which was a bit stressful at first. She is a lot of fun to play with though, and I’ve started to get the hang of her bouncing walk. We’ve learned a lot in the process of making her and working with her in performance, and I’m sure she’ll continue to appear in our upcoming work!
Not too long ago, we at the Flying Box recruited some friends and family to listen to us practicing telling our fairytales from memory. We created our own ways of telling the stories and we worked on playing off each other as a performance team. At one of these practice sessions we were introduced to actor and director Cowboy Smithx. What a great encounter for us! When we told him we were podcast fans, he laid down a challenge: make your own. Well Cowboy, we did!
Now presenting episode one of Magic Mirror, The Flying Box Theatre’s first ever podcast.
We’re jumping on that bandwagon!
-Jesse Orr in Episode One
Episode one features Erika Eichenseer, discoverer of the Schönwerth fairytale archive and publisher of the collection Prinz Roßzwifl. (to be published in english as The Turnip Princess next month! we’re not even being sponsored for all these book advertisements!)
Erika talks about the stories, their history and significance, and her work with the Schönwerth Society, among other things. Through the society’s website (german only) you can explore the lovely Schönwerth Path online… or visit in person in Regensberg, Bavaria!
Take a listen to Magic Mirror for a peek into our process, an outline of Jesse’s obsessions, and insight into the pagan roots of the Schönwerth Tales, plus much more!
Plus, don’t forget to check out Cowboy Smithx’s podcast The Silent X.
“We have to have better segues at some point.”
-Deborah Sullivan in Episode One
Some years ago a German folklorist discovered a collection of 500 long-forgotten folk tales in a basement archive in Regensberg, Bavaria. Tales like The Tailor and The Moon, The Flying Little Box, and Hans Dudeldee had all rested, untold, since they were collected in the early 1800’s by Franz Xavier von Schönwerth.
I’ve been taking a bit of time in the past day or two to record myself telling a few of the Schonwerth Tales, since one of the rewards for all the generous donors to our fundraiser last month will be a recording of one of our favourite stories. I still have some re-recording and editing work to do, but I thought I’d share a rough version of a very short story from the collection here.
This story, called The Moon in the Fountain, is not really a fairytale – it’s more of a legend or folktale – and it’s actually pretty typical of the kind of stories the Schonwerth collected. It’s a tall tale to tell around the fireside, warning youngsters of the dangers of gathering water by moonlight…
As I mentioned earlier, when Jesse and I first started looking at using these exciting new fairy tales for our traveling puppet show project we got a little bit stuck because most of them were only available in German – which neither of us speak. Some very kind friends and family helped us out with the translations, but while we were waiting we decided to spend some time researching the idea of Fairy Tales in general. Where do they come from, what was their original purpose, and what role do they play in our contemporary world?
Well, not surprisingly, although we’ve come across many interesting theories and ideas, there aren’t really any definitive answers to those questions. One thing that we can say for certain though, is that fairy tales are certainly present in modern culture – once you start looking for them you find them everywhere! I’ve found references in songs, novels, news stories, tv shows, blog posts, podcasts…
One of my favourite finds has been this series of photographs by landscape photographer Kilian Schönberger. He captures the mood of 19th century fairytales in photos of German forests that somehow manage to feel both sinister and enchanting.
For any of you who are interested in jumping down the rabbit-hole of fairy tale research with us, here are a few more links to get you started:
When Jesse and I first started talking about creating a puppet show from the exciting new fairy tales she had found, one of our first considerations was “what kind of puppets and what kind of stage will best fit these stories?” In the beginning it was a bit of a guessing game, as we only had access to three stories that had been published on the web in English. But we knew for sure that we wanted the theatre to be sturdy, beautiful and most of all PORTABLE. Our goal is to be able to perform these stories anywhere and everywhere, at festivals, in parks, schools, community centers, maybe even in the metro or on the street.
So, last January, while I had a little bit of time between other jobs, I sat down with Google Sketchup and started dreaming about a theatre in a park. Here’s what I ended up with:
Of course, it’s easy to build a virtual stage – a bit harder to make it a reality! We started out making a “junk” version out of cardboard and found materials, in order to make sure that the dimensions would be right for our puppets. We’re incorporating these refinements into our revised designs, and with a little bit of help we will soon be well on our way to building the portable stage we’ve been dreaming of!