While I primarily consider myself a puppeteer, I still gain a lot of inspiration from clowns and my training as a clown. The clown encounters and engages with the world in a state of constant wonder, as if every moment is happening for the first time. The clown uses crazy, yet perfectly straight forward, logic to make sense of the world. This way of dealing with the world is especially poignant as I build more shows for children. It is the same brilliant innocence often seen in children that I find in clowning, and helps me engage with their world as I create work for their eyes.
Adventures! is a new family show by Anna Fitzgerald and Red Ball Theatre directed by Lola Pierson and Z Smith. Adventures! is a full length family show using clowning and puppetry to tell a story about telling stories. A clown enters a theater, only to find that she is the performer, not the audience. Using objects around her, her own imagination, and a little help from the audience, she makes a show. She learns about mistakes, perseverance, and that the world needs to hear all our stories, even the sad ones. I was a recent recipient of a Jim Henson Foundation Grant for Adventures! which premiered in its final version at The Black Cherry Puppet Theater in SoWeBo in May 2016. The first workshop performance of Adventures! took place in October 2015 as part of The Mead Theater Lab in Washington, DC.
The first iteration of Adventures! was a 10 minute short called "The Most Beautiful Tree," which I still perform on its own. It is an original story about a very tiny girl on a very big adventure.
The set and trees were made of glue, cardboard, muslin and book pages. The little girl, a simple puppet of wood, muslin and paint, travels to find a very mysterious forest - which is a broom head. It is about looking for adventure, finding the place for sadness in the world, and coming home more confused than ever.
I have performed "The Most Beautiful Tree" in Chicago, New Haven, Baltimore, Washington, DC, at the 2014 Fields Festival, and the Black Cherry Puppet Slam among other places. For all ages.
The Story of Purim (As Told through Dinnerware)
Commissioned by The Creative Alliance for Charm City Tribe's Wild Purim Rumpus event. As part of the celebration of Purim, we are supposed to retell the story. I decided to do so using objects for a party. Dishes and utensils were the characters in my retelling of the Purim story. Using humor, I also addressed the problematic gender lessons of this story.