File puptcrit/puptcrit.0810, message 373

Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2008 09:14:15 -0400
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Hobey and Mathieu in NYC

Thanks for your great account of your visit, Matthieu!

Please come back to New York soon, I would love to show you around and
take you to more puppet shows. This serves a purpose for me as well,
as I have no one to go visit places or shows with...but I have a great
inborn sense of direction and am not intimidated by crowds, traffic or
mean cops. I'm brave (brave enough to move to NYC alone)!

I also love to travel, and would love to come visit Montreal as well.
I learned a little French in school, and would like to try it out un
peu avec quelquechose!

Anyone else in NYC that has events, shows or needs accompaniment they
want to share, please contact me. After November 1st, I am an official
New Yorker, and professional puppet, mask, prop and walk around
creature costume builder on the loose...who doesn't know anyone yet.

Let's meet!

On 10/27/08, Mathieu René <> wrote:
> Hi all.
>  I'm back from the trip, and I'm very glad I went.
>  It wouldn't have been as great without the help of a few putcritters, who
>  were great with suggestions!
>  And it wouldn't have been possible at all without one generous couple in
>  particular who hosted me for two nights. I'll let them come forward if they
>  choose, a while ago I learned some people prefer to keep their good deeds
>  private.
>  I was glad to meet Hobey Ford at the premiere of Hunchback, on Friday Night.
>  It was also very endearing to see so many children have fun with their
>  Peeper Puppets, some with one on each hand, after the show. The venue
>  happens to sell them at their concession stand.
>  So, this is how we coherce kids into becoming puppeteers now? Right on!!!
>  LoL.
>  The Hunchback was very entertaining and inspiring to me. I especially liked
>  the wonderfully articulated sets (two large towers on wheels, with two
>  ladders each on pivots, everything thickly wrapped in brown fabric, a few
>  giant wooden crates)  and actor's performances. Lots of emotions, as
>  themselves and as characters, carried through clearly. They all were
>  acrobatic and impressive on those apparently dangerous structures. The
>  puppeteering needs more work (I think they are actors first). Some puppet
>  vignettes were rough, more like playing with dolls than giving them life.
>  The paper mache puppet heads and masks seemed a bit too rough and too
>  "paper-mache-bumpy" to me, but I'm just being difficult as a builder
>  watching his favorite medium not reaching its full potential. They just need
>  to use much smaller pieces of paper, which would have avoided the obvious
>  bumps caused by too many forced corners when draping. The strenght of them
>  seemed ideal when I examined Quasimodo's head up close. The sculpture of
>  them were very good. Everyone seemed very happy with the look. The little
>  finishing aspect did not stop me from enjoying their character or life.  lt
>  was a good show to see. I had a great time, and recommend it to people who
>  enjoy a good entertaining play. It was a good birthday gift for me. I concur
>  with Hobey, the kids in the audience seemed to react well at Esmeralda's
>  death. I was expecting some gasps or sobs, but none came.
>  The next day, I had very good times when Hobey and I talked Shop and
>  Puppetry and Inventors on the way to and from his show (Animalia) at a
>  Public Library in Jersey. The show was awesome. He started with his Peeper
>  Puppets routine, which is even more fun in person.  The show was captivating
>  and a lot of fun, I haven't enjoyed myself that much at a live event for a
>  long time. I was quiet and attentive, then, giggling and laughing and
>  clapping with the rest of them, and had no time or inclination to let my
>  mind go technical during the show.  The animals interacting with the crowd
>  were a hit. So was the daring visual "puppet joke", which I'll keep quiet
>  about, to avoid spoiling it for you.  Hobey's Animalia set is very simple
>  and very efficient, focusing all our attention to the puppets, which were
>  exquisite and moved as if they were alive. The non-verbal storytelling was
>  beautiful and very efficiently constructed. The life cycle of a butterfly
>  was the frame bringing everything together. To me, this show has a clear
>  multi-layered message of respect for nature and life. Hobey made it all
>  happen without preaching, in simplicity and grace, with good moments of
>  humor. I find it hard to refrain from talking more in details about the
>  show, but I wouldn't want to spoil any surprise!
>  See this show! Book this show!
>  He finishes his performance by explaining about how the show came to be, how
>  he became a puppeteer, giving some puppeteer warmups,  a bit about puppet
>  making, and answering other questions. He is a good storyteller and captures
>  the audience's attention with seemingly no effort.  This part makes Hobey
>  Ford an ambassador of Puppetry in no uncertain terms. Before the show, I
>  particularly appreciated how he answered a woman who questionned him about
>  the kind of show he was going to give. He answered something along those
>  lines: It's a puppet show for adults and children. It's for everybody.
>  Indeed!  I'd love to see it again, and more shows from him.
>  I'm going to work on the locals here to invite him to perform.
>  I had a few misadventures and a long moment of grumpyness and frustration on
>  Sunday (cured with perfect french fries, a book, and absolutely heavenly
>  pie). After writing it all down, I realize it probably wouldn't interest
>  many people, so I'll skip that and just make a brief list of what else I did
>  on my wonderful weekend:
>  .Ripley's Believe it or not, Odditorium: very disapointed and felt ripped
>  off (steep price for results), lots of items were low quality or broken, and
>  employees were fake-nice and pushy. Still, some interesting stuff in there,
>  will inspire me randomly.
>  .Swedish Cottage: loved the beautiful venue, inside and outside. Nice people
>  run it. got to see backstage, briefly, but didn't se much, standing out of
>  their way while settiong up for next show.
>  Disapointed by Peter Pan show's puppeteering, altough the puppets and sets
>  were very nicely done and could move well. The show was in previews, so of
>  course we were warned it would be rough. I felt they had just started
>  rehearsing in that same week. Don't know if it's true. The three puppeteers
>  accompanying the Director looked very new at this, which can be one
>  explanation.
>  .Central Park: loved the park itself, next time I'll rent a bicycle to visit
>  more.
>  .Roxy Delicatessen (time Square or Broadway, not sure which): went twice,
>  loved it, will be back.
>  .Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory (Water Street, close to Brooklyn Bridge)
>  wonderful Ice cream, best butter Pecan I ever had.
>  .Toys R Us (nothing seemed really new in toys, but the lifesize Jurassic
>  Park animatronic T-Rex was interesting).
>  .New York people: so much variety it's hard to describe, but I was
>  positively surprised. I met lots of nice, interesting, helpful and curteous
>  people. But you can only find out if you walk up and talk to them, I noticed
>  was the case wih a lot of folks. Lots of frowns turn upside down!
>  One exception: a rude police officer yelled directions at me, when I first
>  stepped out of the subway and asked how to get to a street nearby. The fact
>  that I didn't know what a courtyard was, must have triggered her. That or
>  she hates tourists. Maybe I'll get my revenge someday, making a puppet after
>  her, if I need such a nasty character. The sun was nice, the city was
>  waiting, she didn't phase me anymore than two minutes!
>  .New York Crowds: very very big, very much in a hurry, very hungry,
>  unnafraid of cars, and feels very lonely for a single guy lost in it. I'm
>  sure the whole city takes on new looks and vibes when shared with someone
>  special.
>  .New York food: yummy but dangerous!
>  I didn't find any "real" health food restaurant near Times Square, although
>  I looked.
>  Fast food seems to be king everywhere I went. The only exceptions are the
>  pricey high class restaurants, which I haven't sampled. I like the fast food
>  tastes, but not its consequences.
>  I'd like to get a real New York steak on my next visit, healthy or not.
>  What? Food's my only drug! (puppetry don't count as addiction, ok?)
>  .New York Desserts:I love the cheesecake, and the all-natural roasted nuts
>  in honey.
>  The people I met, the things I experienced and learned, the confirmation
>  that "it can be done", made this whole trip a great experience.
>  I already know that I love New York city when it's for a visit. I also
>  believe that I'd adapt to its beat, if I were to land a job in Puppetry over
>  there. I'm sometimes seen as hyperactive here in Montreal. There, my beat
>  fits right in.  As long as the bedroom is not setup in the middle of Time
>  Square!
>  Be it known, I'm ready for ya now, Big Apple!
>  Gotta go back to making stuff and impress the big wigs.
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