Dolls of New Albion – A Steampunk Opera

DOLLS OF NEW ALBION – A STEAMPUNK OPERA

DOLLS OF NEW ALBION– COMPANIA Y – PUPPETEER – OVAL HOUSE THEATRE – NOVEMBER 28TH NOVEMBER – 1ST DECEMBER 2012

Dolls of New Albion logo

In October 2012, I auditioned successfully to be a puppeteer for a new opera/musical split into four mini Acts incorporating the aesthetics of the Steampunk sub-culture. We had six days at the Oval House Theatre to devise and put together a work-in-progress workshop performance but we were able, thanks to the talent of the crew and cast to create a very high. We then performed the piece four times (An extra date was added due to high demand and the performances sold-out without any official publicity)

I worked closely with fellow puppeteer Faith Brandon (who coincidently also participated in the Puppetry in Opera) to realise the character Jasper and the City of New Albion through puppetry. I was put in charge of the City and Faith was in charge of Jasper although we both relied on each other and used each other expertise.

I decided to use what experience I had with shadow puppetry and used a new technique for me called shadow art to create the City. I used the shadow cast by Victorian Era and Steampunk-esque objects from an OHP to create a city skyline. I also incorporated the use of the OHP plate to create weather and other elements to help bring life to the city.

With Faith, and puppet maker Isabel Lyster, Jasper was created as a ‘human-sized’ legless table-top style puppet. We also worked closely with actor/singer Mikey Shearer who was the singing voice of Jasper to create a strong and relatable character.

I believe we were successful in utilising puppetry in the piece even within the small time-scale that we had. Although I had many other ideas for the show, I think we were right not to over stretch ourselves and focused on creating the important aspects of the show and making them perfect.

We received some excellent feedback about the shadow puppetry and Jasper, who audience members reacted incredibly empathetically to.

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