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.
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:
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!