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Work Samples

Burdie Scene demo c 2018 M J Oelke from"Hysterical Historical Reenactments" (see project)

Rehearsal of Burdie Scene, from HYSTERICAL HISTORICAL REENACTMENTS c M.J.Oelke 2018. In addition to constructing the marionettes, Ms, Oelke also manipulates them using character voices & makes all of the scenery, set pieces and props.

JoeTheWoodcutter,mixedmediamarionettebyM J Oelke

Joe The Woodcutter, mixed media marionette by M.J.Oelke, splits a piece of firewood during a rehearsal. Set design and scene-painting also by M.J.Oelke.

Stringling Marionette Company

We squeezed into a Charles street rowhouse to perform "The Silly Circus" at a local children's party. Puppet master, Mary Jane Oelke does a short "make your own puppet from a milk bottle" demonstration and performs with assistant, Susan Walton with Peabody master musician, Jay Walton, playing live trombone accompaniment in this scene....he played other instruments during the rest of the show. The original script, marionettes, voices and set design are also by M.J.Oelke. This is an excerpt and the live performance is 28 minutes long.

rehearsalvideoSpectresofWar

rehearsal video of Spectres of War papier mache' marionettes by M.J. Oelke. Video is accompanied by musicians from the group, Pulling Strings (with original electric violin also by M.J.Oelke)

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About Mary Jane

Baltimore County

Mary Jane Oelke's picture
        Mary Jane Oelke is a puppetmaster, actress, artist, theatre artist and musician and has performed for and designed  sets, props, masks and puppets for numerous local theatres. Her puppetry performances have been seen at venues including The Walters Art Gallery, Towson University, Spotlighters Theatre, Fells Point Corner Theater, The Vagabond Theatre, and more. Using live voices for each character and sometimes including audience interaction with puppets, her original... more

THE FOREST CHILDREN

THE FOREST CHILDREN

A brother and sister wander the forest, encountering wildlife and learning about eco-systems.

This marionette show project will be aiming to peak students curiosity about forest eco-systems and wildlife habitat, yet be entertaining to all ages.  Although loosely based on the German and French fairy tales, "Hansel and Gretel" and "The Lost Children", using traditional characters, story development will introduce wildlife safety and forest ecology issues in an entertaining  marionette performance.

Each marionette takes 100 hours or more to construct. The set is designed to fit a portable marionette stage. Most of pre-production has been done on this show.

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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke
    "Raggedy Raccoon", mixed media marionette by M.J.Oelke...from "The Forest Children"
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke
    mixed media marionettes by M.J.Oelke...from "The Forest Children"
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke
    mixed media marionette by M.J. oelke...."Hungry Hound" from THE FOREST CHILDREN
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke
    Scene from "The Forest Children", theatrical work in progress with mixed media marionettes, set design and scene painting by puppet master, M.J.Oelke
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    set design and scene painting
    Set design and scene painting by M.J.Oelke from: The Forest Children
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke, puppets, puppetry, puppet theatre
    "Joe The Woodcutter" mixed media marionette by M.J.Oelke (this marionette wields an axe) from The Forest Children and Hysterical Historical Reenactments
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke
    mixed media marionette from, THE FOREST CHILDREN, "Ducky" by M.J. Oelke
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke, puppets, puppetry, puppet theatre
    mixed media marionettes by M.J.Oelke characters from "The Forest Children" work in progress
  • Wild Turkey marionette demo

    Demo of mixed media turkey marionette from, THE FOREST CHILDREN, by M.J.Oelke
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke, puppets, puppetry, puppet theatre
    Scene from THE FOREST CHILDREN, with mixed media marionettes, set design and scene painting by M.J.Oelke

Paintings by MJ Oelke

Paintings by MJ Oelke
MEDIUMS: watercolor, oil, acrylic

HYSTERICAL HISTORICAL REENACTMENTS

    A centuries old tradition is for puppeteers to mock the aristocracy  and elite through veiled inuendo and thinly disguised social and political satire and allegory using puppets (and often slapstick humor.....think "Punch and Judy").
  The First part of this project will be to spoof the debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during which they actually called each other puppets. The title of this short will be "Puppets of Puppets that Called Each Other Puppets". Then I am adding Bernie Sanders and his pal, "Burdie" and few other characters including "Joe the Woodcutter"  and some of his friends,   "Melania",  "Putin" and other puppets including adding the donkey and elephant marionettes I made for an earlier production to represent the "two parties".
   
   Update 2019!    Melania and Putin marionettes have been finished for this project and also Elizabeth Warren.  I attended some SAG-AFTRA workshops with the goal of producing a signatory  video short of this project under a SAG-AFTRA short projects agreement.  I also attended a workshop on production with Marc and Maria Unger, local actor/producers of , THESPIANS, a wonderfull independent series, also a SAG-AFTRA signatory project which is shot locally in and around Baltimore. I am looking at an early 2020 shoot. I am currently working on sets, finalizing a budget and etc, etc, etc...

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    Puppets of Puppets That Called Each Other Puppets
    "sHillary" and "Trumpster" , mixed media marionettes by M. J. Oelke c 2016
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    Marionette,
    Mixed media Marionette, "Trumpster", By M.J.Oelke. This marionette has a flexing jaw for voice-over performance.
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    Puppets of Puppets That Called Each Other Puppets
    "Trumpster", mixed media marionette
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke
    Puppets of Puppets That Called Each Other Puppets
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke
    mixed media marionette, "Senator Sanders"
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke
    "Senator Sanders", mixed media marionette by M.J.Oelke
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke
    "Burdie", mixed media marionette by M.J.Oelke. This puppet accompanies "Senator Sanders" during the second vignette, "Bernie and the Bird" (from HYSTERICAL HISTORICAL REENACTMENTS)
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke, puppets, puppetry, puppet theatre
    Papier mache' marionette, "Donkey", by M.J.Oelke
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke
    Mixed media marionette by M.J.Oelke, "Elephant"
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke, puppets, puppetry, puppet theatre, caricature
    Elizabeth Warren caricature, mixed media marionnette by SAG-AFTRA puppeteer, M.J. Oelke, for "HYSTERICAL HISTORICAL REENACTMENTS" . This puppet can lift her eyeglasses.

Spectres of War

Papier mache' marionettes by M.J.Oelke.

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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke, puppets, puppetry, puppet theatre
    "Spectres of War" papier mache' marionettes by M. J. Oelke
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke, puppets, puppetry, puppet theatre
    Detail of the mother's head, "Spectres of War", papier mache' marionette by M.J.Oelke
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke, puppets, puppetry, puppet theatre
    SPECTRES OF WAR..detail of papier mache' marionette - showing head of baby by M.J.Oelke
  • rehearsalvideoSpectresofWar

    rehearsal video of Spectres of War papier mache' marionettes by M.J. Oelke. Video is accompanied by musicians from the group, Pulling Strings (with original electric violin also by M.J.Oelke)
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    Marionettes by M.J.Oelke
    papier mache' marionette by M.J.Oelke from, Spectres of War
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    detail of papier mache' marionette from, SPECTRES OF WAR, c M.J.Oelke 2018

THE STRINGLING MARIONETTES

   THE STRINGLING MARIONETTES,  was founded by Mary Jane Oelke as a touring puppet troupe of hand crafted marionettes, with original scripts that feature live character acting and live music. 

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    set design and scene painting
    portable marionette show stage by M.J.Oelke for THE STRINGLING MARIONETTES
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    set design and scene painting
    Hand painted backdrop by M.J.Oelke for, THE SILLY CIRCUS, an original marionette play set, "In a town far away, in a land long ago...."
  • MatildatheHon

    "Matilda the Hon" warms up the audience before a marionette show . Mixed media puppet with live voice by M.J.Oelke

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Mary Jane's Curated Collection

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