A touring multi-media marionette show inspired by Goethe's "Faust" with live original music, shadow puppets and projections.
Julia Zanes and Donald Saaf are established visual artists best known for their paintings and illustrations. Their production company, The Bluebird Theater, has been producing marionette productions for the last 5 years. Initially these productions were family projects shown to their friends and local community, but this infatuation with speaking to the world through puppets has grown and so has the popularity of The Bluebird Theater.
This current production, “The Green Gold Tree” inspired by Goethe’s “Faust,” marks the company’s most ambitious project to date. Julia and Donald have dedicated months and months to developing this idea, reading, writing the music, designing the production and making the puppets. So far they have received seed grants from the Henson Foundation, the Vermont Arts Council, Scott Elliott, and a donation of gold from a mysterious woman…..But they need more funding to finish this ambitious undertaking.
The goal of this Kickstarter grant is to raise the $20,000 needed to complete the project. The puppet theater is not finished, 15 of the 30 marionetts are finished, the two dimensional puppets are not started, nor are the shadow puppets. The original music is in the works, but needs to be rehearsed and refined. Then there is the entire rehearsal process to set the production… And yes, it will all be done by late June 2012!
The first performance of “The Green Gold Tree” is scheduled for June 23rd at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in Brattleboro Vermont. The Bluebird Theater is also scheduled to perform the piece in September at Mass MOCA. They are hard at work booking additional venues for the show in between these two events.
Here is a description of the project by Julia Zanes:
I am developing a marionette show and performance piece based on Goethe's Faust called "The Green Gold Tree." It will be a multi-media production using lantern slides, film, puppets and original music performed live.
I believe, almost evangelically, that the Faust story is a story that speaks to us all. The vastness of the story, particularly Goethe’s version, forbids us from attempting to perform it in it's entirety. We have selected segments which are visually compelling, personally meaningful, and which address themes which, I feel, are important to us all in this moment. Specifically I am drawn to two ideas: that of the redemptive power of nature, and the cycle of striving as part of the human condition. David Constantine in his introduction to the Penguin edition, which he translated, sums it up: "The Faustian drive is the drive of the lyric poem to enter all of life, endlessly to extend experience beyond the merely biographical, to partake of past, present, and future time, to counter death by ceaseless and lasting creation."
Much like my visual goals, the story of “Faust” works on many levels. Its vastness and complexity lends itself to a mixed media format. It was also significant historically as a puppet show in Europe; Goethe himself saw the German puppet play as a child and it lived with him his entire life. The piece is an ocean of ideas and of poetry and is in itself an ongoing cycle.
I have the very good fortune to be working with the musicians Donald Saaf and Matthew Sharff, and Michèle Ratté. Michele holds a patent for a process for permanent printing of precious metals onto textiles, and she is creating the material for the costumes for the puppets using real gold leaf. Donald, with the help of Matthew, has written an original score for the show which will be performed live. Drawing on my background in film I am making projections to use throughout the piece as well as hand-painted magic lantern slides and shadow puppet effects. I am also using old 8mm travel footage shot by my grandmother as a scenic element. The overall effect is eerie and otherworldly. Oliver has helped us design and realize the puppet theatre for this piece which in itself is complex and offers many levels and areas and is made of ‘silver screen’ material thus being ideal for projections.
I see this project as doing what I have been doing all along in my paintings, but unfolding into time, using music, text, and engaging the audience in a real time based medium. I have no doubt that working with others to serve the original text will enable me to grow as an individual and as an artist. It has been a great joy to spend time away from my isolation as a painter and step into a completely collaborative venture.
Thank you for your consideration to help fund the completion stage of this project.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $20,000 goal
Funding Canceled Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on April 26, 2012.
Apr 10, 2012 - May 10, 2012 (30 days)
Pledge $5 or more
A $1,001 dollar bill - Faustian Money! An original silkscreened bill designed and printed by Julia Zanes & Donald Saaf.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $15 or more
CD of the original soundtrack of The Green Gold Tree. Music written by Donald Saaf and performed by the Bluebird Orchestra.Estimated delivery: Dec 2012
Pledge $15 or more
The debut C.D. by The Bluebird Orchestra, 'More Beautiful and Sublime than Before' Songs written by Donald Saaf and Julia Zanes with hand packaging and lyrics.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $25 or more
An original silkscreened poster for The Green Gold Tree designed and printed by Julia Zanes and Donald Saaf and signed by the Bluebird Theater Company.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $120 or more
10 backers All gone!
A signed print of an 'Animal Orchestra Alphabet' illustrated by Donald Saaf.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
Pledge $400 or more
1 backer Limited (7 of 8 left)
an original Donald Saaf illustration.Estimated delivery: Jul 2012
Pledge $500 or more
1 backer Limited (5 of 6 left)
An actual original Homunculus in a jar made by Julia Zanes. We are not responsible for his actions once you get him home.. .Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $600 or more
a house concert with Donald Saaf and Duke Johnson of the Bluebird Orchestra within a 300 mile driving range of Saxton's River Vermont.Estimated delivery: Jul 2012
Pledge $1,000 or more
A Bluebird Orchestra concert at the venue of your choice within a 300 mile driving range of Saxton's River Vermont.Estimated delivery: Jul 2012
Pledge $1,200 or more
0 backers Limited (4 of 4 left)
12x12 painting by Julia ZanesEstimated delivery: Jul 2012
Pledge $2,000 or more
A Performance of "The Green Gold Tree" at the venue of your choice within a 300 mile driving range of Saxton's River Vermont.Estimated delivery: Jul 2012