News Column

An evening of paper theater shows [Sun Journal (Lewiston, ME)]

June 17, 2013


TEMPLE -- Great Small Works and friends will present an evening of paper theater shows at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 30, at Temple Stream Theater.

Using flat, paper cut-out figures and miniature scenery, Toy Theater, which is also known as "paper theater" and "model theater," originated with 19th-century advances in printing and engraving. The original toy theaters of Europe were complete dramas modeled on stage hits of the day, do-it-yourself home entertainment kits containing scripts, characters and scenery which you could take home, assemble and perform for friends and family. Intrigued by its versatility, accessibility and low cost, Great Small Works discovered the medium during the countdown to the first Gulf War in 1990 when, responding to the banal terror of the mass media, the company began a topical serial drama using texts and images cut from the daily news. They have been creating original Toy Theater shows ever since, teaching Toy Theater to people of all ages, inspiring both performing and visual artists to do their own Toy Theater experimentations, and producing international Toy Theater Festivals in New York City.

Facto Teatro from Mexico City, Barbara Steinitz and Bjorn Kollin from Berlin, and Great Small Works from New York City will share the program, with a separate show from each company.

Facto Teatro will present "Don Chico Con Alas" which translates to "Don Chico with Wings." Based on a story by the Mexican writer Eraclio Zepeda, Facto Teatro's Don Chico lives in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico. To go from one village to another he must come down the mountain, cross the jungle, then the river and up the opposite hill. He decides it would be easier to fly and builds himself a pair of wings so he can reach the sky before national holidays. A story of ingenuity, creativity, surrealism and human adventure, which tells us that, for some, the sky is the limit.

Barbara Steinitz and Bjorn Kollin will present "Schnurzpiepegal" which translates to "Like Master, Like Dog." A picture book written and illustrated by Steinitz is brought to life, performed out of a suitcase, with live music created and played on an array of instruments by Kollin. While walking through the city, one can see that all dogs look like their owners. But there are some exceptions: Leonora loves operas more than anything and shares a happy life with her dog Fidelio, who doesn't look like her at all. Two blocks from their home lives another odd couple, Joshua and his dog Pistachia, who share a passion for homemade chocolates. In the street people wrinkle their noses and laugh about Leonora and Joshua who don't match with their dogs at all. A humorous love story about outsiders who overcome their loneliness and people's prejudices by accepting themselves.

Great Small Works will present "Living Newspaper." Taking its name from the political theater form produced by the Federal Theater Project in the 1930s, this episode talks about public space and gun violence, in particular the death of Trayvon Martin in Florida in early 2012.

Great Small Works offers highlights from the NYC festival for this performance at Temple Stream Theater, 309 Intervale Road. Tickets are $12 or pay-what-you-can at the door.

Submitted photo "Schnurzpiepegal" will be presented by Barbara Steinitz and Bjorn Kollin.

Submitted photo Great Small Works will present "Living Newspaper" at Temple Stream Theater Sunday, June 30.

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