Friday, September 14, 2007

Strings Attached

Addie has risen. Michael Haverty resurrects Faulkner's As I Lay Dying in the form of marionettes in the Push Push Theatre production in Decatur. Dar and I watched the transformation of Darl, Jewel, Dewey Dell, Cash, Anse, Vardaman, and Addie Bundren into eerily alive characters on a puppet stage Thursday night. It was a seance of fictional beings, a spell of magic, an enchantment wondrous to behold.

Have you forgotten the story?
Review it here: As I Lay Dying

Here's info on the production:

As I Lay Dying
By William Faulkner

Featuring Wade Tilton, Amy Rush, Michael Haverty, Jeffrey Zwartjes, and Matt Stanton

Fact Sheet
Press Release
E-Life interview with Director Michael Haverty

A mother's death triggers a farcical-heroic journey to the graveyard for one dirt-poor southern family. Piling the body aboard their rickety wagon, the Bundrens face raging flood waters, arson, physical abuse, and buzzards tempted by the smell of decomposing flesh in their quest for interment. With the combination of a fast-paced, kaleidoscopic structure, an ever-shifting point of view, and a heightened level of tragedy that approaches the comically absurd, Faulkner's novel, one of the greatest works of American literature, begs for adaptation to the puppet stage.

This production uses hand-carved wooden marionettes, animated two dimensional portraits, silhouette film, and live musicians to explore each Bundren family member's inner desires and delusions. These different styles are unified within the visual and aural world of the carnival. By contextualizing the Bundren's story within a world of sensation and illusion, their tragic circumstances are heightened and their selfish motivations exposed.

And a glowing review from Creative Loafing:


Carved out of a legacy and all grown up, the puppets take Atlanta


Published 09.12.07

Joeff Davis

PURE PUPPETRY: Michael Haverty's production of the William Faulkner novel As I Lay Dying is his most ambitious yet. "Faulkner seemed [the right choice]," he says, "partly because he would describe his characters as 'wooden' or being like objects."
info info

As I Lay Dying

Through Sept. 23. $12-$30. Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m. Haverty Marionettes, New Street Arts (PushPush Theater), 121 New St., Decatur. 404-822-8580.

Puppet master
Top five shows from Jon Ludwig

Michael Haverty practices his art through his hands. A tug here, a tilt there, and he can bring a little soul to a lifeless marionette.

His hands were his most important puppet back in January at Tales of Edgar Allen Poe at the Center for Puppetry Arts. Bobby Box's adaptation was book-ended with a dramatization of Poe's most famous poem, "The Raven." But instead of using a raven puppet, Haverty donned a pair of gloves festooned with oily-looking black feathers. He held his hands together and flapped his fingers to make the sinister "raven" glide through the performing space.

After the show's climax, cross-cutting between the violent endings of three Poe stories, Haverty was able to quoth the raven once more. Actor John Ammerman, playing the narrator, concluded the show with the lines: "My soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor/Shall be lifted – nevermore!"

Meanwhile, Haverty forsook his gloves and dipped his now-bare hands in stage blood. Repeating the motions, he represented the bird not with black feathers but with crimson, dripping fingers. Poe's raven was made of blood.

The impact of a simple red raven speaks volumes about the art of puppetry in Atlanta. The device represents Haverty's particular talents as a performer and puppeteer, exemplifies the Center for Puppetry Arts' boundless creativity, and demonstrates the possibilities of puppetry beyond fairy tales and educational shows. Tales of Edgar Allen Poe was aimed at adult and teenage audiences, and Haverty took glee in the reaction of the high-schoolers. "I don't think they'd ever seen anything that gory," says the 27-year-old puppeteer with a boyish smile beneath the bushy, dark mustache – he calls it "half handlebar, half walrus" – he cultivated for a show...

The whole article

Great Faulkner Site


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