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Work Samples

Mother Goose, from The Mother Load

Mother Goose, host of the Mother Load, introducing the theme of the episode and rambling about anxieties.

Blight

Tryfuss Puppet Collective (Sam Grossman, Devin Martin, Jessie Delaplaine) collaborated with, Baltimore band, Snakefeast to create the music video for Blight.

The Balled of Sadie and Ellen

Puppets from Tryfuss Puppet Collective's The Balled of Said and Ellen

A Sappy Story About Trees

A Sappy Story About Trees, performed by Sam Grossman and Jessica Keys, is a shadow show about realizing you've grown into something you never expected to me. It's ok. Take a breathe. You're still growing.

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About Sam

Baltimore City

Sam Grossman's picture
I am a teaching artist, using puppetry to explore emotions and bolster storytelling skills. When working with students, I model productive ways to process feelings. When working with adults, I want to validate feelings they might suppress. In my performances, I explore depression and anxiety through humor. I don’t know if I can make you feel better about your anxieties, but I hope you will not feel alone. I strive to make my work and craft accessible. When someone views my art, I want them to say “I... more

The Mother Load: puppet sketch show

The Mother Load is an offbeat puppet show, that started on Mother's Day 2015. In February 2020, The Mother Load will be performing it's 9th episode. Each episode explores a single topic or source of anxiety, through sketch comedy- and puppets! Episodes are written by artistic director, Sam Grossman and scored by musical director, Greg Bowen. Our puppets are designed, built, and performed with a rotating cast of friends. We are proud that most performances feature first-time puppeteers! Trucker Talk is our house band.

The Mother Load is about feeling overwhelmed, feeling too much all at once, but still having an ok time. Things can be pretty funny when you're feeling down. It is difficult to talk about our anxieties but, rather than isolate, they connect us. The Mother Load seeks to create an environment where we can feel bad, publically, and still have a fun evening.

Due to the nature of the show, we encourage everyone to consider therapy. In past shows, during intermission, we have provided information about free mental health support, how to apply for health insurance, food scarcity recorces, as well as phone and chat resources for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

Our audience is an important part of the Mother Load experience. When you are there, you are part of the show. You might be asked to call out to a puppet, close your eyes and imagine, or take part in a breathing exercise.

The Mother Load also hosts an interview series, called Flappy Hour. Shorter than the Mother Load, in these interviews, Mother Goose speaks to Baltimore puppeteers. These conversations focus on how the artists began puppeteering, future puppet goals, and insights into their craft. The untimate goal of the Mother Load and Flappy Hour is to encourage the audiance to tell their stories, with the materials available, and to ask for help if you need help doing it.

  • Yoga Ed

    Sketch from The Mother Load episode 4: Death and Christmas. Ed, The Mother Load's most anxious character, contemplates his mortality while struggling through a free yoga class at his local rec-center.
  • Breeding Ball - from Episode 5

    Sketch from The Mother Load episode 5: performance anxiety After taking a few months off to find herself, Mother Goose was a little nervous about getting on stage again. That's ok! We all experience performance anxiety! In this sketch, Snakob and his friend are nervous about attending their first Breeding Ball.
  • Mother Load ep1 poster

    The Mother Load episode 1 was about Mothers Day, and was only intended to be a one time event. Many story arcs, recurring gags, and beloved characters started as offhanded jokes in ep1.
  • The Mother Load ep7 The End of the World!

    Teaser poster from The Mother Load episode 7: the end of the world! Episode 7 was performed days before the 2018 midterm elections. This episode was about global, political anxieties at the time. Episode 7 is important to the shows lore. Sketches in previous episodes were not connected. However, the end of the wold event was experienced by all characters at the same time. Episodes after this point, maintain a shared continuity (or try to).
  • Flappy Hour ep1 poster

    The Mother Load Presents: Flappy Hour! Mother Goose needed to take some time to figure herself out. During these months, instead of performing, Mother Goose interviewed Baltimore puppeteers. These conversations were smaller in scale and allowed audiences an opportunity to share insightful conversations with local performers.

A Sappy Story About Trees

An original story, performed by Sam Grossman and Jessica Keys, A Sappy Story About Trees follows the imagined lives of several acorns and the tree they fell from. The main character, the Mercer Oak, is an actually tree in Princeton, New Jersey.
This is a story about realizing you grew up and became something you never expected to be. Take a breath. You're doing your best. You're still growing.

Kids Table

Currently in production, with Humanbeing Productions.

Kid's Table is an adaptation of Bent Knee's avant-garde rock album of the same name. Kid's Table tells the stories of several middle schoolers, as they navigate complicated social situations for the first time.

  • Kid's Table – Intro Assembly

    Introduction to Kid's Table. As 'Boy' returns to his childhood home, he remembers people and events- some are joyful and some are upsetting.

The Allyson Gonzalez Residency for ​Art, Science & Cultural Exchange 2018

In the summer of 2018, I was invited to attend the The Allyson Gonzalez Residency for ​Art, Science & Cultural Exchange. This residency asks artists to explore materials and media outside of their comfort zone. This test film is the culmination of many hours of experimentation.

The Tryfuss Puppet Collective

The Tryfuss Puppet Collective was founded by Sam Grossman, Devin Martin, Jessie Delaplaine, and Kristie Winther in 2015. With an interest in recycled materials and community events, Tryfuss produced several puppet shows and marched in two Baltimore paradise.

  • The Ballad of Sadie and Ellen

    The Ballad of Sadie and Ellen, written by Jessie Delaplaine, tells the story of two lovers who must hide their relationship. The two make plans to meet by the river, when they encounter a selkie river spirit. “Attend close to your dear friends, hold tight your dear lover. Lest you end up like Ellen and pretty Saide”
  • Snakefeast - Blight

    Tryfuss collaborated with, Baltimore band, Snakefeast to create a music video for Blight. During a dark ritual, our protagonist summons the demon prince Stolas to “ seek power, and an end to this war.” All power comes with it’s cost.
  • Halloween Lantern Parade

    Tryfuss built a 12ft long axolotl for the 2015 Halloween Lantern Parade. This float also matched in Light City 2015. We named the axolotl, Grace Jones.

Poe Puppets

Sam Grossman, Martha Robichaud, and Chris Reuther performed shadow puppet shows for several poems by Edgar Allen Poe, at the Enoch Pratt Library: Light St. Branch, in February 2017. The poems included Annabel Lee, The Bells, and The Mask of the Red Death.

(Media was unable to upload due to error on Baker portfolio website, 12/23/19, 8am)

The Legend of Jessie Jean

The Legend of Jessie Jean is a dark western, from the Baltimore Rock Opera Society's 2015 Rock Opera 6-Pack. As outlaws trade stories about a ruthless bounty hunter, their stories are brought to life through shadow play.

Sam Grossman was puppet master on this production. Physical puppets, painted screens, and human choreography gave this show a unique look and feel.

(Media was unable to upload due to error on Baker portfolio website, 12/23/19, 8am)

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