BBQ Tomorrow!

I am working on a Flying Box print …but can I manage to have it printed and ready by the Flying Box Theatre BBQ Fundraiser this Saturday August 23rd 2014?

It’s anyone’s guess!  This and other answers await you at the barbeque in  the Champs des Possibles, 5-8pm.  There will be musical guests, a brand new crankie show, and homemade sauerkraut!flying box draft print 02

By the way–tonnes of other stuff is happening tomorrow in the -des Possibles world, which we are totally crashing:

Bioblitz in Champs des Possibles from 10am – 4pm

The Marché des Possibles has loads of events all day!


European Roots

These 19th century German Engravings are very inspiring to me, and they give a great idea of architecture and design of the era of Schönwerth.

engravingGrimm's engraving

Half of my family tree originates relatively close to Bavaria, in the Alsace region, and this is a big part of the reason I’m fascinated by the old oral traditions of Germany.  I’ve read about the jack-o-lanterns that would guide a lonely hikers through the woods; the mermaids who, finless, would dance under the surface of a stream;  the spinstress who now lives on the moon;  the giants who ruled over mountain castles… I wonder if my great great great great grandmother had similar tales? And what happened to them if she did?

Delving into these European roots I am also acutely aware of my place in the colonization of North America.  These Schönwerth tales and all other folk traditions are tied closely to place, and seeking my family histories takes me far from the land where I live.  I haven’t untangled this knot or truly figured out what decolonization is for me, but the knot is there!


family history blog

Family History, collage. J Orr 2013.

Character Mechanics

I’ve been working out the puppet mechanics for the title character in the story Hans Dudledee, beginning with modeling his hip and knee joints in clay. hans leg model 02Young Hans is an unlikely hero whose humility and kindness win the day. He sits down at the shore to fish at key moments in the story, and so his body must be designed with this in mind. I see Hans plunking himself down directly to the ground, dropping easily into a splayed-knee position. Today I made it to the basic mechanics of the posture; my next step will be to add refinements to the shapes of the joints in a firmer material. With luck we’ll end up with a puppet that moves as only Hans Dudledee could! hans leg model 01

pattern wide red 01
Ornamentation and pattern will play a big part in our puppet theatre design. Beauty is not dead! I’ve been playing with a pattern taken from a 1850s Bavarian garment, pictured below right. I love translating the 160 year old pattern through my pen because it feels akin to learning a story… Where are its twists and turns? Which elements appear, and what are their relationships to one another? What gets lost if I begin to improvise and stray from the original? Then there is the matter of medium: making my loose digital sketch is an utterly different experience than making an embroidery. Similarly, our performance will be in the medium of puppetry while the stories were recorded as a part of a shared oral literature–seeing our show will surely be different than hearing the stories by the fireside, perhaps for the 10th time! There is a lot to be learned by imagining, remembering, and investigating this gap, I think.

pattern yellow blackpattern bodice

The Schönwerth Collection

Erika Eichenseer discusses her discovery of the Schönwerth archive in the video below. Skip to 58:00 for her description of a dramatic scene from a fairytale puppet show she made with a group of children!

The Flying Box Theatre was encouraged by Erika’s obvious interest in puppet adaptations of the Schönwerth fairytales, and sure enough when we reached out to her we had a warm response. Hopefully we’ll get to fly over to Germany one day and show her our work!

Erika and her husband Adolf were among the founders of The Schönwerth Institute, created in 2009 to promote Schönwerth’s work and manage his estate. Her collection Prinz Roßzwifl und andere Märchen is our main source of material.

Help bring The Schönwerth Tales to life

Contribute to our August 2014 Stage-raiser!
stage raiser img
Goal: $ 1200.00 CAN
What’s it For? Materials and labour to construct this puppet theatre
Fundraising Deadline: September 1st 2014

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Are you as excited as we are about hearing untold Bavarian fairy tales, never before disney-fied? Do you want to support our explorations in puppetry and storytelling? Do you have a dollar in your pocket?

We are fundraising to build our beautiful, portable, FLYING BOX STAGE! Yes, the all-important frame and home to our work has been living in our minds for almost a year now, and we are ready to make it a reality. We’re working with a master set builder to create detailed construction plans, and we will begin building in early September. We’ve dreamed and planned, built models and rebuilt models, and in order to create a sturdy, functional stage we are asking for your help.

To purchase materials and fairly compensate a skilled builder, we will have to raise $1200. That’s not so bad! With a few dollars from you, we can build a long lasting, versatile puppet theatre to entertain and engage audiences for years to come. Every little bit helps and every single contributor will have their name painted on to the Flying Box Stage. All contributions above $5 will receive:

  • YOUR NAME painted on to the Flying Box Stage
  • A personalized audio recording of our favorite Schönwerth Tale.
  • An original lino-cut print
  • An invitation to an open rehearsal in Mid October – date & time TBA
  • An invitation to the full-length premiere in Late November – date & time TBA

Donate to our August 2014 Stage-raiser via co-founder Jesse Orr. Don’t wait, click the Pay pal button below!

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Coming in late August: Flying Box BBQ fundraiser with sneak-peak preview!!