Hello Acting Manitou Friends! I hope all of you are enjoying this school year so far. I myself have been keeping busy and working on a couple different productions in these last few months since camp ended. So today’s blog is just a quick update on how things are for me here in NYC!
One of the coolest things that I got to work on this fall was the Wagner College (my Alma Mater) production of Avenue Q. I was brought on as the props designer and secondary puppet maker. We were so grateful to have rented the cast of puppets from the original puppet designer Rick Lyon. It was amazing to see the detail that was put into them up close. But the director Ryan Gibbs, he wanted a few more puppets made to give the world a larger cast of characters to help incorporate a larger company of actors. so it became a very interesting few weeks of felt and making puppet sized objects.
Below are the puppets that I crafted for the show most of which were used in the song “Purpose.”
These “Purpose Puppets” were so fun to make! The director really wanted to stay true to the design of the original puppets from the Broadway production and keeping with that Jim Henson muppet look as well.
The sunflower and the pie were my personal favorite pieces to make. I feel like they really ended up having character even without an actor operating them. You can see them in action below.
Another random but wonderfully fun task was to create what Ryan our director called “Kate-zilla.”
Now in the original production of the show, they had a huge puppet of Kate monster that appeared in a kind of stress dream that Princeton has. I was given the wonderful job of being in charge of making a slightly augmented version of this idea.
We knew we couldn't have a whole giant puppet but we could have her seen in smaller conceptual pieces. So what we ended up crafting were these giant Kate Monster hands and separate eyes and a nose so that it could look like she was appearing through the buildings onstage.
The “paws” were made from what was essentially a long pizza paddle that was covered in a styrofoam paw shape then covered in a felt paw shaped pillow cover. It was so funny making them because the work benches in the shop weren't large enough to craft them on. I ended up doing a lot of work on them in the theatre aisles. Check them and Kate’s signature blue eyes and bright green nose in this next photo.
I do wish that we could've seen more of her paws coming over the side buildings but sometimes you could spend hours making something and it might not be used exactly like you had intended. But hey! that’s show-business!
Next up for me is the Friend’s Seminary production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream I’m working with some of our amazing Acting Manitou friends and if you’re around NYC the 1st-4th of December you should totally come see it…it’s gonna be so much fun!
This was really fun for me to write and I hope that it was fun for y’all to read. I can’t wait to see more of these posts to catch up on what the rest of the AM community is up to the rest of the year!
So long for now,
(your friendly neighborhood set designer) - Anthony