String and Shadow Puppet Theater is building their 6th show together and taking it on a cross-country tour!
This fall's show, "ESPERUS: The Janitor," explores our relationship with technology and asks us what the analogue world means to us — and what we would do to save it. Full of wizards, business men, barbies, and enchanted birds, ESPERUS brings masks, shadows, big and tiny puppets, and dancing pieces of cardboard alive on stage, all set to original music!
Loosely based on the myth of Perseus (hence, Esperus, an anagram for Perseus), the show follows Esperus, a lowly janitor at the powerful inter-dimensional firm MegaRealm, who must go on a harrowing journey to save the "old-world," our world, from certain destruction by company executives who plan to destroy it in order to make room for their creepy tech future. Audience members, equipped with magical objects, will help Esperus on his journey through the MegaRealm complex. Performed by four humans, eight hands, and a talking piece of string, ESPERUS is a wacky puppet love song to the analogue, human-to-human world.
We are so excited to be working with local Olympia musicians to compose an original soundtrack for ESPERUS. This has been a goal since the company's inception, and it's coming to life! Ben McSpadden, Cory Mahler, and Kefa Crow are already hard at work creating original arrangements to accompany the puppets on violin, piano, stand-up bass, a variety of horns, flute, and accordion. We will record the music for tour and are excited to perform with them live upon return to the PNW.
We will perform this show locally, in Olympia, and then take it across the country to the east coast. It is our mission to perform in public spaces, at festivals, in living rooms and in back yards, to children and adults, in an effort to unite communities through the magic and play of performance. We designed this show to incorporate the audience more than ever before, giving them the ability make choices, play roles, and, ultimately, take responsibility for the story's ending. This is what makes live performance so much more fun than television! We want to bring this show to communities across the United States, and we need your help!
Some exciting dates from the east-coast tour:
Sept. 6th: Departure Show (Venue TBA) Olympia, WA
Sept. 7th: Sh'bang Arts Festival Bellingham, WA
Sept. 14th & 15th: Hoppin' John Music, Festival Silk Hope, NC
Sept. 19th: The Pinhook, Durham, NC
Sept. 20th: The Wherehouse Art Hotel, Winston-Salem, NC
Oct. 3rd: Con Artist Art Gallery Puppet-Exhibition Opening NYC, NY
Oct. 9th: The Owl Collective, Pitsburgh, PA
Oct 11th: The Glitterbox Theater, Pitsburg, PA
These are just some of the highlights! Interspersing these shows we will be playing at people's farms, in their backyards, public parks, and more!
How Your Money Will Be Spent
$3,500 will go to buying a tour bus. This is our main obstacle to crossing the country. With four people and a variety of oversized puppets, we need a larger vehicle to transport the show. We want a 20' long school or shuttle bus that can be converted into our puppet tour-bus. We have spoken extensively with mechanics & bus-enthusiasts trying to narrow down the options, and believe we can get the kind of bus we want, with decently low mileage, good tires, & no broken parts for $3,500. In addition to this Sept/Oct tour, a bus will allow us to continue doing an annual tour each year as well as packing our shows from the studio to venues locally in Olympia!
Here is a picture of the bus we want:
$450 will go to vehicle registration fees, insurance during tour, and fuel to get us to the east coast.
$342 will go to a Sony BlueTooth Transmiter & Senhieser Lavalier Microphone. A lavalier microphone with blue-tooth connection to our sound system will allow Esperus to move freely around stage and in the audience whilst still being able to project.
$343 will cover the percentage paid to Kickstarter.
If we surpass our goal, the funds will be used towards:
Fuel to get us to the east coast, wood and materials to build storage racks in the top of the vehicle to provide organized puppet storage, and additional supplies like PVC, fabric, paint, and masking tape that we dearly need to build the show!
In exchange for your generosity, we will be sending out handmade gifts to our Kickstarter patrons! These gifts will be made and sent upon our return from the east coast in November and December. Please be patient with us, making things by hand takes time! But it's work we love to do, and we are excited to show you our gratitude.
Risks and challenges
Each new show takes us approximately four months to build to completion. Along the way there are all kinds of challenges that we grapple with creatively, but, having worked together consistently and with incredible closeness for two years, the String and Shadow team has learned to grow from these challenges and see limitations as invitations for increased creativity. We have been working on ESPERUS for three months already and the great bulk of the creative work is already done, much of the music is composed, and we are in rehearsal. With your help, the goal of taking ESPERUS to communities across the country can be realized!
We hope that our shows can inspire and enliven audiences. We believe that live performance is a political act in and of itself and try to promote messages of hope and humor in everything we do. Our communities are what matter most to us, they are what make puppetry possible. Whether it be helping us in the studio, performing in one of our productions, donating supplies or funds, or helping spread the word, we couldn't do it without our lovely friends and community members. So, we thank you! Your support means everything to us.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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