Feature in Puppetry International on Hamlet's Last Act

Bit of a blast from the past here — back in 2013, after closing Hamlet's Last Act, my Balinese Wayang meets Edward Gordon Craig woodblock prints solo show, I gave an interview to Karen Smith about the experience. I didn't realize until today, however, that this interview wound up featured in UNIMA-USA's Puppetry International Magazine back in 2015.

Pretty cool! Here it is, for those interested in checking it out.

Blossom at Dixon Place

Blossom closed yesterday after a sold-out run. Fingers crossed this is only the beginning for this show. Many thanks to all who came out!

Here are some of my favorite reviews we received: 

NYTimes: "This ambitious production — directed by Mr. Lott, who also designed the puppets — does many things well, foremost the puppetry: When the residents at Garden Ridge doze off, you can see them gently breathing."

Village Voice: "In these lovely, aching scenes (which incorporate miniatures, shadows, and, in one case, outsize topiary), Lott and his cast of five actor-puppeteers not only make us empathize with the inanimate but also remind us of the rich inner life still possible for those in mental decline."

Exeunt Magazine: "Lott tackles a difficult subject with this project, one that despite its ubiquity in real life, is often clumsily or condescendingly handled in art. Blossom, however, never deprives its central character of individuality, even as the universality of age and loss is also apparent. There is a gentleness that imbues the entirety of this production to which this style of puppetry is especially suited. The closing scene’s bare simplicity is beautiful, profound, and moving."

Life's Scary Reading

Had a terrific time putting together a reading of my new script, Life's Scary, for Martian Entertainment's inaugural reading series. Can't go into too many details about the story right now but, like most things I cook up, there's plenty of practical effects, puppets, and comedy. Pictured above, a conceptual rendering for the show's world, and one of our most valuable cast members. Many thanks to Martian for the invitation, and to all who came out!

It Came From Gowanus...

In our second session with 6 - 11 year olds at Piper Theater, we devised an original show titled: It Came From Gowanus... (36th Annual Scientific Symposium). This session, we began by exploring a variety of puppetry styles while training ourselves in the art of scientific observations and theories in preparation for a field trip to the Gowanus Canal. At the canal, we found (no joke) a sunken boat; the half-sunken, skeletal remain of a geodesic dome; a treasure chest that looked like a car battery — floating on a raft; small minnows; a flat-headed fish that may have been a turtle; and one participant even claimed to have seen a note that said, "Help!" shortly before it sunk below.

Following our discoveries, we dreamt up creatures that might have mutated (re: evolved) to survive in this mysterious landscape and then built puppets out of recycled materials to bring these creatures to life. With all these creatures and materials and ideas under our belts, we set out devising short plays to help provide answers to some of our most mysterious observations. By the time parents arrived on our final day, we had an entire scientific symposium to present, performing our stories, introducing our creatures, and fielding questions for the audience. The kids hit it out of the park!

Down Under: The Mysterious Ocean

I'm back at Piper Theater this summer for another four weeks of puppetry-inspired theater and film with 6 to 11 year olds. We just wrapped up our first two-week session with the screening of our new film, Down Under: The Mysterious Ocean. Everything in the movie (save one obvious sound effect) was conceived, created, and filmed by our 15 participants in our classroom. At the premiere, we transformed the classroom into a movie theater, complete with tickets and popcorn, to share our hard work with all the participants' parents and friends. Look out for that Megalodon!

We Are All Tourists!

For the past year, I've been working with Trusty Sidekick Theater Company on their newest show, an environmentally-staged, interactive, theatrical tour called We Are All Tourists (WAAT). We just completed our first round of workshopped performances up on The High Line. Major plot details are being kept quiet so as not to spoil the adventure for future tourists, but I will say that this is no ordinary tour and that, before you know it, a trip with WAAT may lead you into multiple different realities...

Special thanks to Buatti-Ramos Photography for the great shots!

Sharing Wayang Kulit with Co-Lab Theater

Yesterday, I had the good fortune of joining CO/LAB (Creative Opportunities without Limits And Boundaries) Theater Group, a non-profit organization that has been providing individuals with developmental disabilities a creative and social outlet through theater arts, for their guest artist series. Together, we explored shadows and shadow puppetry — both with our own bodies and through the Balinese tradition of Wayang Kulit. Many thanks to Arielle Lever for inviting me, to everyone at CO/LAB for helping to make this happen. It was a blast!

Sox News heads to SeriesFest!

I'm thrilled to announce that Sox News, our little-pilot-that-could, has been named an official selection of SeriesFest. Strange how this show, which began as hyperbole and parody, feels more like documentary with each passing week. I'm quite excited (and curious!) to see what kind of reception we'll receive now, 8 months and 16 failed Republican presidential candidates since our last public screening. Onward, to Denver!

The Kidnapping of Subhadra

After about four years of dreaming and nine months of planning, Ian Coss and I produced our first Balinese Wayang Kulit tour here in the United States, flying over our two friends, Putu Rekayasa and Panji Wilimantara to share an original show, The Kidnapping of Subhadra. We traveled up and down the East Coast, sharing the show, holding educational workshops on Wayang Kulit construction, and lecture/demos on the theatrical tradition. Turnout was terrific, the show was well-received, and we're already planning our next run. Many thanks to all who came out. Your support and interest means so much to all of us, and Reka and Panji were floored by how much interest the show received. 

Until next time!

Making Shadows for Civil War Pigeons

I had a great time joining up with friends from The Society for Misfits on a workshop of their newest endeavor, Civil War Pigeons. We devised some original mobile shadows puppetry to contribute a whole slew of images, scenes, and moments to what was already a very compelling and heartfelt story. So cool to see some ideas about live cinematic shadows that I'd been kicking around for 5+ years materialize! And with such a grand crew of people! Thanks to all who came out for the performance.

Training with Fiasco Theater

It has been an absolute honor and privilege to train with Jesse Austrian and Noah Brody of Fiasco Theater, during their Free Training Initiative (FTI) this Spring. So many lessons learned, new questions revealed, and exciting material to chew on going forward. And such talent and generosity among all who participated. It was a real treat.

Photos from Venice

I had a fantastic time working with Deconstructive Theater Project on Venice Double Feature. Here are some photos from our work-in-progress showing at HERE. I'm looking forward to more down the line as we keep developing the piece!

Venice Double Feature

I'm excited to share that I'll be joining the Deconstructive Theater Project on early development for their new show, Venice Double Feature, which will be shown at HERE as part of their annual CULTUREMART. This is DTP's first year (of three) in residency at HERE, and Venice Double Feature is a brand new undertaking. The show promises to be a live cinema work that re-positions Thomas Mann's novella Death in Venice as a lens through which to scrutinize modern day social media culture, particularly the worship of youth as beauty and the contemporary human preoccupation with voyeurism. 

Tickets are available on the HERE website for our showing, March 5th and 6th. Hope to see you there!

Physical Work and Neutral Mask Residency

I've had a fantastic time working with a very talented bunch of high school actors as an artist-in-residency alongside my dear friend, WT McRae, at the Brooklyn High School of the Arts. We're winding down a multi-class series exploring a body-first, physically-guided entry into acting and character work, and I thought it would be nice to share some pictures. Here, after using Delsarte body work to explore intellectual, physical, and emotional systems in the body, we've introduced neutral masks to the students in an effort to further focus our work on physical shape, gesture, and spacial arrangement.

Many thanks to Lisanne Shaffer for inviting us to her classroom, and to Exploring the Arts for the grant!

Building Babel

Last weekend, I had the great pleasure of performing in Babel, a new acro-dance-theater piece co-created by WT McRae and Jeremy Williams. Bodies as building blocks, creating towers and structures — climbing, yielding, flying, falling — Babel tells the story of a tower, built so high it offends god. God divides the people who build it and gives them separate languages so that they cannot build again. The piece explores the human desire to create, the necessity of communication, and how human ambition can overcome adversity. We had our premiere at Gibney Dance Center, as part of APAP, to sold out houses! Thanks to all who came out to support the work.

Cozy Zone

Last month I had the distinct honor and absolute pleasure of sitting down with Ben Weber for his Podcast, Cozy Zone, in which we spoke at length about life, laughter, art, and (to earnestly misquote Ben) how to be happy in this miserable city. We also ate soup and parmesan toast and played Magic: The Gathering with our childhood shoeboxes of cards while listening to the complete Lord of the Rings Soundtrack. In other words, a most excellent time. You can listen to the whole episode below:

Also, be sure to check out all of Ben's other interviews at his website. He's a real gem.

All We Have Left at La MaMa

For one night only, All We Have Left will be showing its latest work-in-progress at La MaMa, as part of the 2015 La MaMa Puppet Series. It's been such a joy to get the gang back together again (and welcome in a few new faces) as we remount all we worked on up at the O'Neill. This one is something real special, I think. Tickets are already sold-out, but I hear they're going to squeeze in a few people who show up early, day-of-show. More info is available here. Hope to see you there! 

Sox News on Getting Felt Up

Our friend Nate Begle, one of the talented puppeteers who we worked with on Sox News, also co-hosts a super cool podcast called Getting Felt Up! all about contemporary puppetry and the people who make and do it. With Sox News now officially made public and our currently little run through the festival circuit, Nate invited me, fellow co-creator Christina Hurtado-Pierson, and the very funny Frank Conniff onto his show to talk more about the project. It was such a treat. Many thanks for the invitation! You can tune in to our episode by clicking here!