The Black Light Puppet Theatre production of Autumn Hollows, produced in partnership with Virginia Stage Company’s Education Department and Eggleston, continues to allow people who are not usually able to participate in theatre, or other art forms to be able to flourish and learn new skills. For me personally, this having this opportunity never ceases to amaze me. Not only because I have the chance to stretch myself as an artist but also because I have the pleasure of working with and teaching adult associates from Eggleston about the world of theatre.
Are you sometimes discouraged by your mundane, daily routines? If you are, then I certainly can relate on a certain level. I have been energized by our one hour sessions (three times a week for six weeks) working on Black Light Puppet Theatre to create performance art. That is not a lot of time, and it is certainly not a great amount of time to rehearse a whole show, but we excelled! This small amount of time has allowed all the participants from Eggleston and Virginia Stage Company to get to know one another on a friendly basis and create some memorable, moving pieces of theatre. The smiles. The countless hugs. The never ending encouragement.
With Autumn Hollows, I was given the chance to design and direct a song that was then used in our show. At first I was a little overwhelmed! After all, designing and directing are not areas of the theatre industry that I have done very often, nor do I think they are my strengths; however, none of that mattered. It was about working with the associates from Eggleston. I had a blast getting to know each of them and helping them create art. Together we stretched our abilities during the process. Rehearsals progressed very well. Within the first week I noticed tremendous growth with people being open and willing to try new things. Since they were being vulnerable, I was gently reminded that I can be vulnerable as well. The performances are always very humbling because no one can see you. You are dressed up in all black. The only thing the audience can see is the puppet you are manipulating, but they aren’t able to see the puppeteer. It is so very freeing.
My fondest memory is explaining to the our associates from Eggleston that it is completely valid to feel nervous. If you are nervous, then that is great and absolutely allowed. If you are not nervous, then that is also very valid. I think that once we teach a skill or topic, then that is when we have finally begun to understand it better ourselves. We should never stop learning,therefore, I encourage you to find a topic you are passionate about and dive right into it. After all, there may be others around you that may share that same interest.
Thank you to all the patrons that came out to support and see Autumn Hollows! You were very kind and we greatly appreciate you. If you missed Autumn Hollows, no worries! Keep checking vastage.org for upcoming information about our next Black Light Puppet Theatre production with our partners at Eggleston.
Education Stage Manager
Autumn Hollows Credits:
"Skeleton" Created and Designed by Grace Davis
"Pumpkin story" Created by Grace Abele, Designed by Grace Davis
"I Put a Spell on You" Created and Designed by Jenny de Jaager
"Ghostbusters" Created and Designed by Michael Mast