This spring we (Dave Buchen and Clare Dolan) are organizing the first ever festival and exhibition of Cantastoria art in the US. We are bringing performers from around the country to perform at Chicago's Links Hall for three weeks and exhibiting art from around the world at the Packer Schopf Gallery.
What is Cantastoria?
Cantastoria is the Italian word for a performance form originating in 6th Century India involving the display of representational paintings accompanied by sung narration. It travelled the world and has taken on many forms, from Indian religious Par scrolls to the Indonesian Wayang-Beber, to Persian Parda-dar entertainers, to itinerant European street performers selling broadsides, to the German banklesanger in Weimar cabarets to the present day revival.
Why does the world need a festival of Cantastoria?!
Because there's never been one on our continent! What is so exciting about this festival and exhibit is that it showcases this unique form in its many permutations, revealing how an ancient performance practice has inspired contemporary young artists, activists, and performers.
We are raising money to produce an exhibit catalog, which will feature essays by theater historians John Bell and Mark Sussman, and anthropologist Michael Taussig, as well original art by Dave and Clare. The book will come in two versions: a cheap down and dirty version, offset printed and accessible to all, and a deluxe hand-printed and hand-bound version. The book will function as a reference book, a listing of exhibited works with information about the artists, and as a work of art in its own right. It will be sold at the exhibit and festival performance weekends. Proceeds from the book sales will help support operating costs of the festival and exhibit.
We also will be producing a limited edition set of 5 silk screen posters featuring artwork by Peter Schumann, Janie Geiser, Morgan Fitzpatrick Andrews and other luminaries of the puppet world. Your support will help us print these posters.
The festival takes place at Chicago's Links Hall from April 23 until May 9th. It features Great Small Works, Bread and Puppet Theater, Blair Thomas, Clare Dolan, Theater Oobleck, Marsian, Ramshackle Enterprises, The Dolly Wagglers, Katie Shook, Susan Simpson and the Shoddy Puppet Company. Your support helps to bring in these performers from across the country.
The exhibition takes place at the Packer Schopf Gallery in Chicago from April 16th until May 8th. It includes scrolls and banners from India, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico and a broad spectrum of the contemporary cantastoria scene in the US. An opening night gala will feature live music, performances and a gallery tour by Clare Dolan. Your support will also help cover the costs of shipping, insuring and exhibiting these international works.
- (65 days)