conference

Admittedly, communication between the Dedes and me hasn’t been so hot lately and I sensed there is a lot of uncertainty about what is going to happen; what I have lined up for them. I have a history of doing new things and just presenting them with what they have to do next. But I strongly believe somebody has to make the decisions around here. Personally, I am not a big fan of decisions by committee: when you try to please everybody you always end up with something boringly average. The majority of the Dedes, on the other hand, are a comfortable lot and are not very keen on change. So to debunk their fears I thought I would invite them to a full Dede puppet meeting and explain what I am up to, even though it only marginally affects them.

Would you believe it? A mere five puppets showed up. Out of how many? 63, 64. Isn’t it pathetic? Behind closed cupboard doors they whisper and complain. You would think they are planning a mutiny. But when they could come out and have their say, hardly anybody showed up.

They had their chance, and not showing up is not my fault. I still went ahead and told them what I have planned for next year and why all these strangely constructed actors have shown up. These are samples for a puppet workshop I am holding at a community artschool in Auckland in the beginning of next year. The course follows my own path into puppetry from the visual arts perspective, rather than from a theatrical point. I am keen to convey the self explorational properties of puppet making and it’s magical uses as a problem-solving tool. In one session I will use the Dedes, but ultimately I want the students to unleash their own creative thinking when it comes to puppet making. And by the end of the course we will have made a stop motion film. I am quite excited about this project.

But wait, there is more. I was invited by the manager of Estuary Arts Centre in Orewa (just north of Auckland) to co-curate a puppet month in July next year. We envisage a festival of puppet making, story telling and performance, and not just for children. This week I put an EOI note on Big Idea. It would be amazing to bring a bunch of puppeteers together and further object theatre in New Zealand. Needless to say I am equally excited about this project.

So, fingers crossed, I can find enough students for the course to run and enough puppeteers to make puppet month happen…

The Dedes didn’t say much. They just wandered off when they realised my plans really didn’t involve them. I guess they didn’t know what to think about all this and have to confer with the other lot that stayed in the cupboard.

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