Paperhand Summer "A Drop in the Bucket"


As Fall comes in to full swing and I am finally getting to pull out my cardigans and scarves I find myself with the time to sit down and write about my amazing summer spent at a performer in the Paperhand Puppet Intervention show "A Drop in the Bucket".  Last summer I began my adventure with this one of a kind company when I came on as the costumer for "The Painted Bird".  I spent hours in the studio sewing, hot gluing and falling in love with the Paperhand family.  In the fall I continued working with company when I performed at a Halloween event and helped create puppets for a production of "Into the Woods".  When summer came back round and I was asked to perform with the company in the annual show I was so excited to join the cast.
A Paperhand show is special for a lot of reasons and it starts with the process of creating the yearly spectacle.  While most shows I have been in come with a predetermined script and an assigned role, this show was a collaboration and it came together because of the crew of people.  We played games, experimented, worked in small groups, and shared our ideas.  It isn't a fast process but it develops a pieces that is like nothing else being brought into the world.
From the minds of many creative people a show begins to emerge, music is composed and added in, and hundreds of hours are spent on paper mache, painting and sewing to create the masks and puppets.  After months of hard work and many sweaty days in the non air conditioned studio we are finally able to bring the show we have poured our hearts into to the community.  Despite it being hot a humid we don long sleeves and pants so the puppets get the spot light they deserve.  Sweat drips down our faces but it is all worth it as the audience ohhs and ahhs as they go on the journey with us.  Decked out in my polka dot leggings and red headed mask I delight in doing high kicks and dancing with kids in the audience.  The sun goes down and out come the giant owls and as I talk my crew of volunteers through the choreography I smile hearing over a thousand people hooting and singing along with the song.  My last puppet of the show is a beautiful illuminated owl that after a circle on the stage goes right into the audience and up the big stone steps.  We pause along the way and swoop it down to the outstretched hands of kids small and big.  The glow from the owl lights up there smiling faces and I can't help but smile too.  Granted sometimes I felt like I was caught in a crazy mosh pit and thought I was never going to be able to make it to the top of the theatre, but the magic of the moment made it all worth while.
The kids (and the adults that become like kids again) were all truly wonderful and a joy to share the show with, but the best part of this summer was the Paperhand family.  This group of performers, musicians and artist is a truly unique community.  Spending the summer performing, laughing, and sharing the ups and downs of life with them was a blessing.  After months of rehearsals and 6 weeks or shows it has been hard to adjust to not seeing them every day.  But before we know it we will be back together waving cardboard and making people smile.

Thank you to Lee Capps Photography for the wonderful pictures.  Thanks you also to John for catching my high kick moment!

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