Monday, August 22, 2011

Paper Theatre on the road!

I've really enjoyed making the 'What It Is?' performances using a mixture of kamishibai, masks and 2D puppets, and I'm starting to think of it (to steal a term from last year's comics exhibition in Melbourne Fringe Festival, curated by Jo Waite and produced by me, with art by Jo, Ben Hutchings and Chris Downes) as 'paper theatre'.

Recently I have developed a show about energy saving for Origin, the energy company, and I have tried a paper theatre approach - in the shot above, taken by Iris Baker from Origin (thanks Iris, for all the photos in this post!) you can see a beautiful tree painted by Michael Camilleri, mounted on a couple of large boxes, and behind me, paper whitegoods on the four vertical faces of a couple of stacks of boxes.  I turn the 'whitegoods' boxes to change the location of the show (hallway, lounge, kitchen, bathroom).

Here I am at West Manly Public School in Sydney on the 5th of August 2011, performing the show to primary school kids,

and here's me being chased by Energy Bob, the alien robot who has turned up on Earth doing some research about energy production and use on our planet.  Kids get to ask him questions, too.

Kid: 'What language do you speak, Bob?'

Then I listen carefully to Bob, who whispers his (its?) answer to me, and I relay it back to the audience.

Answer: 'Indonesian.'

The above photos are from our arvo show in West Manly, and our morning show that day was at Tregear Public School, which was also great fun.

At Tregear we did the show (the world premiere!) for the whole school, on what you can see was a beautiful day...

There's me looking at the contents of a paper fridge with my assistants, Brains and the Vampire Slayer (if you see the show you'll understand).  Of course Energy Bob also turned up at Tregear, and was asked to nominate his favourite song.

He thought for a while.

Then whispered his answer, which I relayed to a bemused younger and an amused older audience:

'Eagle Rock.'

Funny thing is, whenever Energy Bob was around, I could never find James Taylor, my other buddy from Origin.  Ah, well.  Iris and I would always tell him about Bob's antics after the show...

I'm looking forward to doing more of these performances in New South Wales over the next few months, yessiree!

What It Is? #4 - July - Comics and Songs

The final 'What It Is?' in this first series was performed/presented at Readings in Carlton on Monday July 2011 at 8pm, and featured me and Martin Martini, as above.  We talked and sang and shew drawings on the theme of 'songs and comics'.

The kick-off kamishibai was titled

Sorosoro nobore
Fuji no yama.'

that is, the haiku by Issa (1763 - 1827) which is translated in 'Franny and Zooey' by JD Salinger (1961) as:

Oh snail
Climb Mount Fuji
But slowly, slowly!

and you can watch the whole 8 minute kamishibai here, courtesy of Daniel Hayward (also thanks to Dan for the pictures in this post).

The youtube episode of the whole evening is coming soon.  Watch this space!

What else did we do?  Well, I adapted a song (Alice by Tom Waits) to comics form (and invented a new artform, 'comicshibai' in the process), and Martin Martini

made a song out of a comic ('Douglas and Douglas' from Lumpen #7 by Pat Grant), and then he found out that I was made of comics and I discovered that he was made of songs.

Apparently, we all are.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What's an edicomicorial?

Glad you asked!  There's me, on Wednesday 20 July 2011, in my 'comics talk' purple shirt, trying to work out what such a thing might be with the very talented editors of 'Early Harvest', a special issue of Harvest magazine, 'a somewhat literate quarterly for somewhat literate quarters'.  This upcoming issue of Harvest is edited by this crack team, and will feature writing in its many forms by young folks from Hither and Yon (mostly Yon, as it turns out).

This project is the brainchild of the great folks at Pigeon Projects, Lachlan and Jenna (thanks to Jenna for the pictures in this post), who cook up remarkable writing and art-making projects for kids to do. Lachlan and Jenna involve grown-up (?) writers and designers and illustrators and yes, even comic book types to lend their expertise - or ravings, as the case may be - and each time I have done so I have had so much fun that I have floated home. Seriously.  That good.

Together, we managed to establish that an edicomicorial is a editorial made in comic book form whereby four groups of editors each write/design/draw one page.  Recently I've heard a rumour that the insanely talented Chris Downes, once of Tennessee now of Hobart, is the comics artist who's going to do the final art.  If this is true, it is Very Good News.

And there's me with one of the groups of writer/artists - these editors of 'Early Harvest' are 10 - 12 year old students from schools from the inner west in Melbourne, and the project is supported by the City of Maribyrnong.

Go editors! Go comics!  Go go go!