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A Week of Experimental Puppetry: Kate Brehm - Poofs!!!


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Please join us for a week of performances by Kate Brehm and the POOFS!!! Brehm is a movement director specializing in performing objects, trained in the Margolis Method of Physical Theater. Her company, imnotlost has produced madcap projects in NYC since 2003, including: Discrepancies, Things Fall Apart, Dark Space, The Eye Which We Do Not Have, and Meditation Zero. She has worked as a puppetry associate since 2005 for MacArthur genius Basil Twist. She developed and/or performed for him in Charlie and the Chocoloate Factory, Dorothy and the Prince of Oz, Sister’s Follies, The Rite of Spring, Dogugaeshi, Petrushka, and the site-specific Seafoam Sleepwalk. Other theater artists she has had the pleasure of working with include Torry Bend, the Puppet Kitchen, Julie Atlas Muz, Lee Breuer, Chris Green, Erin Orr, and the Blue Man Group.

The Poofs are abstract and confounding puppet creatures that ride a line between animal and plant. Built from 300 yards of folded crinoline, each Poof is a giant multiplication of a singular pleated poof. Each full Poof is a copy of every other with only small variations in size, coloring, and number of singular poofs. Operated by an encased human, poofs undulate slowly creating a crawling wave of fluctuations across the fabric. An engaged public often exclaim, “How is it moving?!” The puppets ‘look’ at their surroundings, react to viewers (with shaking, shrinking and growing), and bumble gradually through space in a slug-like slither. They inspire simple wonder because they appear both mechanic and organic. A viewer’s mind is infiltrated with the question of whether liveness and agency are ever dissociated.

A critical aspect of a Poof show is the evolving, performative interactions between poof and spectator. As silent creatures the Poofs do not demand attention. Rather, they draw people in by their ability to become one with the environment while retaining a sense of otherworldliness. As simple, slow moving creatures without appendages, they are approachable. Viewers stand quite close to the puppets and often try to touch them. They rarely talk directly TO the puppets, but rather speak about them. This suggests that the encounter is not so much with the puppets as it is with their own imaginative powers. When a Poof responds directly to a viewer their wonder transforms into a willingness to play.

-- Kate Brehm

Earlier Event: September 22
Perfomance: Kyoung Eun Kang - Care Package