puppets http://www.culturecatch.com/taxonomy/term/940 en More Than Skin Deep http://www.culturecatch.com/node/4300 <span>More Than Skin Deep</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/168" lang="" about="/user/168" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Jay Reisberg</a></span> <span>March 31, 2024 - 10:23</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/theater" hreflang="en">Theater Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/940" hreflang="en">puppets</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2024/2024-03/epdermis_circus_headline.jpeg?itok=IY-DN1fm" width="996" height="961" alt="Thumbnail" title="epdermis_circus_headline.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><strong><i>Epidermis Circus</i></strong></p> <p><strong>Soho Playhouse</strong><strong>, New York City</strong></p> <p><strong>March 20 through 24, 2024</strong></p> <p>In the days when vaudeville audiences were eager for "odd" entertainment, performers--traveling the USA's various "circuits," both high and low--competed in coming up with new, different, or totally unique acts. Notoriously, Robert John Wildhack gained cachet by demonstrating a hilarious variety of sneezes (which you can still enjoy in the movie "Broadway Melody of 1938"). There was "Painless Parker's Dental Circus," whose act was pulling teeth with the help of "hydrocaine" (a cocaine solution). Let's not leave out women like Ethel Purtle, who played the Motordrome Circuit, performing the "Wall of Fire" stunt with a live lion seated in a sidecar. Today, we think we are more sophisticated, as we have "performance artists" -- and some indeed are artists, like Canadian puppeteer Ingrid Hansen, who wowed sold-out audiences at the Soho Playhouse last week with her Epidermis Circus.</p> <p>The title of this zany, bawdy, and hilarious performance piece reminds me of a jest children play upon one another: dolefully warning an unsophisticated playmate that "Your epidermis is showing!". (I suppose it's the very first time kids learn that the epidermis is another term for their skin.) Ms. Hansen is called a puppeteer, with the implication that one is primarily manipulating figurines -- but her epidermis is unabashedly doing most of the work in her enormously entertaining, one-hour madcap vaudeville show. It is chock full of riotous, naughty, and mystifying vignettes using her bare hands, face, mouth, tiny toys, and a doll's head.</p> <p>Ms. Hansen comes closest to conventional modern puppetry when transforming her socks and panties into a romantic couple, whose intensive interaction incorporated the outstretched arms of two audience members, whose limbs provided the platform for a tragically moving romance. Ms. Hansen's "stage," upon which all but that one sequence is performed, is a table positioned in front of a petite video camera, which magnifies and projects her manual and facial artistry onto a large screen -- with her voice providing clever chatter and sound effects.  </p> <p>Ingrid Hansen has performed puppeteering on television for both Sesame and Henson productions. She plays the character "Heart," a lovable orange monster, on <i>Helpsters</i>, Sesame Workshop's Emmy-Award-Winning series for AppleTV+. She also puppeteers and voices characters on Henson's new <i>Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock series</i>. For the TreehouseTV/Amazon show <i>Miss Persona</i>, she puppeteers "Melissa the Dog." She has choreographed and directed several music videos, including choreographing a ballet for stand-up comedian K. Trevor Wilson, which appears in the Canadian sitcom <i>Letterkenny</i>. </p> <p> </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/A3WynvTO17U?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>I recall as a child using my hands as imaginary animals, and Ms. Hansen propels such kid stuff to a high adult level. Her hands-only sequence of two dog-like creatures playing and probing one another was captivating, earning the audience's intense focus, only to be punctuated by gales of spontaneous laughter. My favorite vignette featured the head of a kewpie doll fastened to Ms. Hansen's hand, forming an athletically flexible human-like figure taking a sensual bath in an oversized coffee cup.</p> <p>Ms. Hansen's hands-in-motion have the kind of presence that is often attributed to the greatest stage performers. Their movement, combined with her skill for vocalization, establishes colorful characters playing out their scenarios, transfixing the audience and creating pin-drop silence interspersed with spontaneous bursts of laughter.</p> <p>The closing sequence was a tour de force: creating a farm scene with tiny toy animals, vehicles, and structures, each emerging from Ms. Hansen's elastically flexing mouth. This "farm" endures some intensely inclement weather -- finally being washed away, and a "The End" flag was then precipitated from Ms. Hansen's mouth to signal that the show had concluded.</p> <p>In addition to this bawdy "adult" version of the show, the week's run also provided child-friendly performances.</p> <p><i>Epidermis Circus</i> was produced by <i>SNAFU Society of Unexpected Spectacles</i> and was co-created and directed by Britt Small. Ingrid Hansen is credited as co-creator and performer. Costumes were designed by JIMBO, The Drag Clown (James Insell). <i>Epidermis Circus</i> was also co-produced by and with creative contributions from Kathleen Greenfield. Puppetry coaching is credited to Mike Peterson and Rod Peter Jr.</p> <p>For information regarding future performances of <i>Epidermis Circus</i> and other works produced by <i>SNAFU</i>, visit the <i>SNAFU</i> website: <a href="http://www.snafudance.com">www.snafudance.com</a>.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4300&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="z3MDtEDbEZs5lIqN_OT2jHfHjoJZHN30zGyW5Yqxi10"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 31 Mar 2024 14:23:20 +0000 Jay Reisberg 4300 at http://www.culturecatch.com