Tonight, after two weeks of non-stop work at the O'Neill Theater Center, we premiered All Hallows Eve, a new show by Martin P. Robinson (Little Shop Of Horrors), with original music by the incomparable Paul Rudolph. So elated, so exhausted, so proud of this show and the work everyone's put into it. Keep an eye out for this one!
I got to experience my first CO/LAB end of semester show this past weekend and it was a real treat. Our class devised a story inspired by the Nature Channel about a Giraffe with a lot of questions. We've been working on our puppetry technique and ensemble theater skills since early September and it's so thrilling to see the fruits of our labor on stage.
Above you can see a 10 foot tall giraffe alongside a to-scale monkey puppet. I designed and built both, along with 3 birds, a handful of shadow puppets, and a sea of sharks for a commercial we made earlier in the semester for Sharkolate Ship Ice Cream.
Can't wait for next semester's work!
Last Spring, I gave myself a challenge to regularly write single location scenes without any puppets. Of all the scripts, my favorite was arbitratr, a semi-absurd/sadly-plausible story of a guy who uses a new start-up that's like UBER for your arbitration needs to break up with his girlfriend. I assembled a few friends to shoot the thing, and now you can catch its premiere at the Crown Heights Film Festival! All the info can be found here.
And if you can't make it in person, you can also check it out online!
It's so good to be back on the road with my pal Ian Coss and our Bali buds, Reka and Panji. We'll be spending the next three weeks bringing traditional Balinese Wayang Kulit to students, families, and audiences up and down the Northeast. Here's a cross-post from our first show!
Hello from the Czech Republic! I have spent June living Prague, conducting research on a new theater piece with puppets inspired by a classic Czech novel, Karel Čapek's The War With The Newts. The month has felt incredibly fruitful for both the script and the show's developing aesthetic, and included making this guy, the show's first newt, a hand-carved, wooden marionette, made in the traditional Czech style.
And the good news keeps coming! My show, Untold Stories From The War War With The Newts has just been awarded a 9 month residency at the Center at West Park, with a premiere set for next Spring in the Object Movement Festival. More the come as the show comes together over the coming months!
I'm so excited to share that I've joined CO/LAB Theater Group as a teaching artist. CO/LAB (Creative Opportunities without Limits And Boundaries) is a non-profit organization that has been providing individuals with developmental disabilities a creative and social outlet through theater arts since 2011. It's a real honor to join these talented folks - I'll be working with my friend and CO/LAB co-founder, Arielle Lever, to pilot a puppet curriculum for the 2017/2018 season.
Over the past nine months, I've had the pleasure of working with Off The Page Education to present the first theatrical adaptation of the powerful novel, All American Boys, by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. The show was devised and performed by an aged-appropriate cast, featuring a fantastically honest, brave, and talented cohort of teenage performers.
After a premiere run last summer, the show was featured last week at WNYC's Greene Space. Below you'll find a livestream of our afternoon show, which was followed by a fantastic conversation between the book's authors and Rebecca Carroll, host of How I Got Over.
We came, we stretched, we danced, we soared, we WON!! So happy to share one of my greatest artistic (and life) accomplishments of all time — WINNING DANCIFY THAT! Many thanks to all who came out to experience our ecstatic energy for men.
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 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."
So thrilled to be heading back into the rehearsal room for my good friend Spencer Lott's new show, Blossom. The show has come a long way since we last worked on it during a residency at the Jim Henson Carriage House last Spring. Can't wait to really jump back in!
We've got a nice run coming up at Dixon Place next month — tickets are on sale now can be found here.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!