"The Frog Singer," conceived and written by Laura Strausfeld, is probably the first theatrical puppetry work with self-illuminating puppets made from electroluminescent wire. It is the story of a frog who is a champion jumper but aspires to be a singer instead. The production has a cast of three actor/puppeteers and live drawing projections. It is intended for children of all ages.
The puppets are constructed from electroluminescent (EL) wire and attached to battery packs. To Strausfeld's knowledge, these are the first puppets of this kind. Designers have previously used EL wire in theatrical shows, but not to make wholly constructed self-illuminating puppet characters. The Frog Singer's sets are projected drawings that are created real-time throughout the show. The aesthetic is deceptively do-it-yourself, raw and child-like, using simple drawing shapes but executed by a lot of ultra cool and new technology. Throughout the production, there is an underscore of Tango/Latin music.
The script is adapted from a story that Strausfeld wrote for her son Otto when he was five. She relates that she loved the magic of that moment in the theater when the lights go down. She also loved glow-sticks. So she imagined, what if the lights never come up and the entire show is created from glow-sticks? The concept started there. She recruited Eric Nightengale to direct. Carin Berger (www.carinberger.com), an extraordinary illustrator and children's book author (who teaches theater at Hunter and is also a performer) drew the characters. She became the narrator.
In the play, there's nothing more important to a young frog's parents than how high their frog child jumps. After all, the higher frogs can jump, the more successful they are in life. Lester is a phenomenal jumper and a great success, but he's had a dream since he was a child of doing something radically different. What should Lester do? Keep jumping...or that other thing he truly loves? The play is a lighthearted but profound allegory of how one must deal with parental and societal pressures while remaining true to one's own soul.
The show is intended for "children of all ages," but Strausfeld advises that the perfect age is probably five to eleven because the play's themes are intended for older children. But it is visually mesmerizing and will entertain a three-year-old.
The actor/puppeteers are John Heath, Joann Sacco and Claudia Orenstein. Puppet Design and live-drawing projections are by Laura Strausfeld. Character illustration is by Carin Berger. Projection Design is by Laura Strausfeld. Sound Design is by Eric Nightengale. Puppet Advisor is Claudia Orenstein.
About the Company: Drilling Company
The Drilling Company (www.drillingcompany.org) took over as producer of Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot seven years ago. [A history of Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot will be available soon on the Drilling Company website.] The troupe, founded in 1999, is also a prolific presenter of new works in its permanent home at 236 West 78th Street (one block south of the #1 train at 79th Street), where it nurtures and produces new works by emerging playwrights. The Drilling Company has developed and produced works by such well known playwrights as Will Eno, Brian Dykstra, C. Denby Swanson, Tom Strelich, Vincent Delaney, Eric Henry Sanders and Trish Harnetiaux. The company is led by Artistic Director Hamilton Clancy, who has been an actor in Coen Brothers "Burn After Reading" and Ridley Scott's " American Gangster" and recently appeared at Playwrights Horizons in "The Retributionists" by Daniel Goldfarb, directed by Leigh Silverman.
Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 AM
Runs 40 minutes
Theater: The Drilling Company
Address: 236 West 78th Street
New York, NY
Buy Tickets Online or Call: TheaterMania at 212-352-3101