File puptcrit/puptcrit.0803, message 367

Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2008 14:19:01 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] A feel-very-good moment

I have enjoyed and benefitted a great deal from puptcrit. One of the  
most surprising elements was reconnecting with the Independent Eye. If  
you ever get an opportunity to see The Eye live, do see them.
Conrad has only a few years on me but has been a primary influence in  
my theatre making since the days of Milwaukee's Theatre X. Not only  
did their ground breaking work inspire and shape me, but they came to  
the very first performance of my own theatre, in the tiny basement  
snack bar of Marquette University, but they invited us to use the 3rd  
floor of their building. In the years when the Eye was in Chicago and  
later out east they would return to Milwaukee to perform, traveling in  
a van with their kids. The kids really shifted their work, to my mind,  
and each new play was more extraordinary that the last. Thee created  
and employed puppets & masks when X was still operating and it was  
astonishing. Later Conrad would visit from time to time whendoing NEA  
evaluations and we could share a meal and conversation. Each occasion  
was a mixture of pleasure and mind expansion.

Conrad, it is wonderful to read your updates here. I enoy your web site.

-Michael John Moynihan

On Mar 23, 2008, at 9:17 PM, The Independent Eye wrote:

> Wow.
> In the midst of a near-death scream to deadlines, directing &
> designing two shows, building 17 puppets & wrestling vast technical
> challenges, we went to the quarterly meeting of SF Bay Area Puppetry
> Guild.  Took a three-hr workshop with Liebe Wetzel, the queen of Bay
> Area object puppetry - very simple, very clear, very useful - and
> then a potluck and an extended business meeting, extended because
> there was a VERY loud evangelical Easter service in the next room,
> and our Prez was vamping till it was done and the performances could
> start.
> And we performed.  Working as a duo for the past 34 years, but this
> was our very first time in front of puppeteers.  Our audiences have
> been quite varied, to say the least, from Sunday school teachers to
> convicted felons, vast masses of drunks to sweet, ethereal, naked
> people, and everything in between, but this one was scary, as all our
> puppet work has been for general audiences who just see anything with
> a puppet involved as neat & cool.  We've recently decided to devote
> our total focus to puppetry, and so there was the implicit fear in
> our minds:  are we just actors disguised as puppeteers?
> So, we did a 20-minute piece, FREEWAY, about a young couple who take
> a wrong turn onto a freeway and never, ever get off.  Kinda concerned
> because there were a few kids in the audience and it's definitely not
> The Three Little Pigs.  But they too laughed in the right places.
> Final upshot was that the response was very powerful, and they just
> kept on applauding.  Seems weird when you're 66, you've performed
> professionally for 38 years and with your mate for 47, and yet you
> feel as if you're stepping out on stage for the first time.  But
> that's what it was, and it worked.
> And followed by friends, Michael & Valerie Nelson, who've only been
> performing together for 30 years - ah these youngsters! - doing a
> truly comic/beautiful B'rer Rabbit adaptation, and the people who
> were a moment before taking in the death-throes of an elderly couple
> crawling across a Burger King parking lot were now rocking with
> laughter at the sweet, yearning, human dumbness of B'rer Bear.  It
> was all puppetry at its best, touching the human heart with every
> nimble finger.  May we all, every now and then, have full toke of
> that magic.
> Peace & joy-
> Conrad B.
> -- 
> Visit our website at <>, for listening
> to our public radio series Hitchhiking Off the Map and exploring our
> archives of 34 years of stage productions.
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