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Hello good-people:

 

In the comments section here or in an e-mail to nruby@agnesscott.edu audience members are invited to write their substantive critique and reaction to Liars Since Diapers: Monsters, Aliens, and Unicorns.

 

As Nell said, be honest with your critique and reaction to the performance:  how it looked, what seemed out of place, what could have been clearer, those moments that were striking to you and what about those could be explored.

 

Again, I cannot thank you enough for coming and taking the time to write this feedback.  Your reviews will go into Professor N.Ruby’s final assessment of my progress this semester in Sculpture I: the puppet party. I think she might have said it was ENTIRELY based on your responses so…that’s a thing that’s happening.

 

I will post my reflections of the performance on a separate post.  I fear that my tears of gratitude and cathartic waxing would skew otherwise completely objective reviews of my best friends.

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6 Comments

  1. this was an exhilirating performance not only through your use of the unconventional as the conventional, but rather ability to capture the essence of the stories we (really, you and it just relates to the way my childhood stories went) incorporated the real with the supernatural. The way you used everyday objects, and explained your hunter-gatherer strategy for object was fascinating and added an entire new idea to all the objects you used in your puppet show. Continue the good work. Sorry this wasn’t fully substantive, Nell. It’s finals week, but know that I think Phoebe’s puppet show was the bomb dot com.

  2. Things I liked
    – The puppets were rad, different, unexpected. Creative use of materials.
    – The various kinds of audience participation. Not only were there animal sounds, which seems appropriate for a puppet show, but also a mic check (which is timely considering what’s going on in the big wide world).
    – Your voices (for the characters) were incredible. Each one was believable and you switched between them seamlessly.

    To work on
    – Your transitions between scenes seemed rough. I know that it’s a one person show, so it’s not a big deal.
    – I would like to see a longer narrative, one that I get more invested in. I want to see an hour long show of this.
    – I’m never really a fan of breaking the fourth wall (even in “professional” theater). There were a few times when it seemed unnecessary and other times where it fit.

  3. At first, the elements of fantasy characters seemed disconnected, but I was pleasantly surprised when it all crossed paths and came together. I appreciated the creative use of materials. One of my favorite moments was when the father unicorn gave everything he had to the daughter unicorn; the use of materials added to the argument. While sometimes I didn’t know whether to laugh at the hilarity of the script, the repurposed found objects, or just the idea of playing itself, the act of group participation in the script lightened the seriousness of a performed act and made for a comfortable environment. Playing on the floor works for and against the show- it gives the impression of child-like play but also limits visibility. You could still play on the floor, but instead on a stage. The lighting functioned similarly- it created an intimate environment but limited the visibility of your unique found objects, of which I would have liked to more clearly see. All things considered, the artist worked well with the space she had. Her voice was strong, audible, and brave throughout the performance, a quality which is difficult to maintain when performing intimately with an audience. She worked well with impromptu elements- audience participation and malfunctioning props. Next time, she needs to have a designated camera person to document the whole process. My favorite characters may have been the mythical pill people. I would love to see more of them. Overall, the performance seemed ridiculous and then reflected back the ridiculousness of my own life and culture- I think the pill people might be real.

  4. This was an ambitious project. Just the act of collecting and arranging the sundry objects would be art in itself; but endowing them with characteristics and creating stories for them is something else entirely. The melding of art and performance is avant garde, and could be offputting to an unprepared audience; however, this reaction is obviated by the inclusion of audience participation. The result is an exceptionally well-balanced presentation. We are not merely watching a “bizarre” puppet show, we are helping to create something that is so much more.

    My primary critique would be that sometimes it was unclear which character was speaking, particularly in the scene between Hematoid (the ostracized monster) and the lone soldier. To make up for the absence of a mouth, which would usually clearly indicate the source of the voice, excessive gesticulation could be used to draw attention to the character who is currently speaking.

    Every scene had strong and distinct characters, but the most impressive to me may have been the assembly of the pill bottles. I liked that they had different points of view, different vocalizations, and even different movement styles as they ascended and descended the dais.

    Thanks for sharing with us Phoebe!

  5. The visuals definitely complimented the narrative and vice versa, your medium captures the concept beautifully. The way you compromise the notion of representational figuration was clearly related to the nuanced allegorical language invoked by your aliens, monsters and unicorn.

    And the references to “pill-children” and the Book of Job were really thought-provoking.
    Both ideas could potentially be fleshed out more, but only if your performance is made considerably longer. Plus, invoking the Old Testament and connecting wayward, anarchic children with medication is perhaps better if left open-ended because they provide really great instances or relativity.

    I think the moments when you were direct with the audience were ultimately beneficial to your total performance in how they connected the audience to the action. Maybe your opening and conclusion could have drawn on this persona a bit more.
    The moments when you were assertive and honest about what you expected from us seemed especially successful—and in doing so you’re being equally direct about the viewer’s paradoxical role in the construction of a performance. Kind of confronting us and forcing us to accept responsibility for your puppets?

  6. Thank you Phoebe for performing your work, and performing the act of “student doing independent study” in my three dimensional thinking play, uh, I mean, CLASS this semester. And thank you to all of your smart, engaged, vibrant and exciting friends for their active participation in your puppet performance and for their role as “smart women” on performance night. My goal as a teacher is to become dispensable, so that I can just kind of coast along and witness and poke rather than reign and demand. Typically the transition form Teacher-As-Ruler to Teacher-as-not-teacher-but-colleague happens over a four year period. It is refreshing that it is sort of happening with you right now. Refreshing because it’s pleasurable, fruitful and inspiring for me to have students with whom I can collaborate. I thought your work this semester was original, thoughtful, well-crafted, and evocative. I am excited by the responses of your peers (above) which reveal your thorough work. I think it is courageous of you to perform! In my view this work “is engaging, surprising and goes beyond the ordinary or obvious” and demonstrates “depth and complexity in use of design elements within a broad range of the principals of design” as well as shows “Evidence of exploration and growth in skills and knowledge.” and shows “Clear risk-taking involved in project development and research” all of which are directly quoted from the evaluation criteria section of my syllabus, under the descriptor for the grade earned as “A”. Congratulations! I look forward to working with you more on this innovative performative work. I would like for you to consider working with me on installing a monthly (or so) cabaret voltaire (or something like that) so that we can encourage performances like this. I’m sure your friends will love to attend!


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