On Friday, October 10th, at 7:30pm and Sunday, October 12th at 3pm at Sandglass Theater, —Eric Bass and Ines Zeller Bass, Brendan Taaffe, Anna Patton, Kirk Murphy and Amanda Maddock share with you the mystique and low-tech charm of pairing song and story with scrolling pictures.
With the serenade of ballads, stories, comic songs and originally composed music, this exciting team of artists will present an assortment of beautifully handcrafted crankies for your delight and entertainment. Crankies are scrolling illustrations, wound inside a wooden box and then hand-cranked so that the images move across a viewing screen. Once called ‘moving panoramas’, crankies were as close as it got to films in the early 19th century. Recently crankies have made a fresh and invigorated appearance throughout the nation, appearing in circuses, music events and yes…puppet theaters.
On this special evening Brendan Taaffe will be performing three stunning cut paper crankies: “When the World Comes to An End”, a haunting depiction of a traditional camp meeting song, “Gum Tree Canoe”, a magical rendition of a traditional minstrel song, and “You Raise The Hawk”, which brings together Brendan’s stark paper imagery with the poetry of Maurice Manning. Brendan will also sing a song from his recent album, Can’t Hold The Wheel. Deeply versed in Irish and American traditions Taaffe blends old-time ballads with traditional Zimbabwean rhythms. The ripple of the mbira, an instrument over a thousand years old, and Taaffe’s lush tenor casts old songs in a new light, creating “the kind of hushed, lonely warmth you experience sitting by a fire in a drafty house.”
Anna Patton, composer, musician, and crankie-creator, will present “Interferon”, part of her longer work-in-progress, based on the work of Czech poet/immunologist Miroslav Holub. Anna Patton arrived at crankie making through the love of combining music with visual storytelling. She jumps at the chance to be involved in theatrical and multimedia collaborations whenever possible amidst her touring schedule with the dance band Elixir and other groups. Anna composed the score and recorded the soundtrack for Spybird Theater’s production “The Eye of the Storm,” which debuted at Sandglass Theater’s International Festival of Puppet Theater in 2012. The art of “Interferon” was created in collaboration with Anna’s brother Ben Patton.
Representing the Sandglass company, Kirk Murphy accompanied by Amanda Maddock will debut ‘Huey’, a ridiculous survival story featuring dancing chickens, singing crickets, and threats that lurk in all the darkest places. Kirk Murphy has been a company member at Sandglass Theater since 2006. He is a puppeteer and musician, as well as an amateur chicken herder. Amanda Maddock, fresh off of a 5 month tour in China, has trained extensively with Sandglass Theater. She is a puppet artist from New York City, now based in Vermont.
Finally Co-directors of Sandglass Theater, Eric Bass and Ines Zeller Bass will present their well loved ‘Au Bois Marguerite’, which charmed audiences at Puppets in Paradise in September 2013 and is a delightful rendition of a French Canadian comic song about a young woman who falls asleep in the woods and finds her true (if somewhat imperfect) love. They will also perform ‘Three Little Fishies’, A dark take on the 1939 novelty song in which three little fish swim out of their pond to discover the real — and scary — world. This will be their first formal showing of this newest crankie.
There is something for everyone wrapped up in this eclectic collection of crankie performances. Bring your good mood to an event of crankie. Tickets are $16 general and $13 for students and seniors, payable by cash or check at the door. Tickets are available online at http://sandglasstheater.org . Getting tickets in advance is highly encouraged as seating is limited. Sandglass Theater is located in the heart of Putney, VT. For more info, please call 802-387-4051 or visit sandglasstheater.org.