The talented student recipients of the Jim Henson Fund for Puppetry will perform/present their funded projects. This year’s student presenters are Kristen Ahern (MFA Design candidate), Olivia Brann (MA candidate), Chris Brusberg (MFA Design candidate), and Stacey Carlson (MFA Dance candidate).
Kristen P Ahern - Pollution Puppetry
"Pollution Puppetry" is a a conceptual work that highlights waste and pollution in our world today. MFA Design candidate Kristen P Ahern follows Jim Henson's tradition of constructing his Muppets from innovative materials in her use of recycled or reclaimed supplies, including recognizable everyday objects. Each puppet will highlight different types of pollution from the four elements of Fire, Air, Water and Earth. The piece is a call to action for audiences to reflect on their choices and be conscious about how we share this earth.
Olivia Brann - Dear Sylvia
"Dear Sylvia" by MA candidate Olivia Brann is a peek into the mind of Sylvia Plath and of those with mental illness. Using mixed styles of puppetry and projection, the piece celebrates Plath's legacy as well as those who are navigating their own mental health journies. The goal of "Dear Sylvia" is to discover the hope that is embedded in her writing and to illuminate the ways in which we "pull our own strings," so to speak—that is, everything in one's life is a choice, including life itself.
Christopher Brusberg/Lauren Duffy - Little Red Dog
"Little Red Dog," tells the story of a dog named Mio who is sent by a magical fairy to bring love to a couple. MFA Design candidate Christopher Brusberg and his wife Lauren Duffy combine the styles of shadow play and stop motion with original music to communicate themes about love, loss, and acceptance that are experienced in the process of grief. They both hope this piece touches on universal concepts of joy and remembrance that all can identify with.
Stacey Carlson - My Shadow
In this piece, MFA Dance candidate Stacey Carlson explores the Jungian "shadow" side of self, or the unconscious aspect of one's personality, as a means of bringing about self-awareness and transformation. Stacey brings her puppet to life through dance and movement, using Jungian archetypes to assist in character development. This piece is a playful exploration of the light and dark sides of self, accentuating the caricature and multiplicities of our personalities.
The School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies hosts an annual competition and recipients are awarded funds to create a puppet project or performance. The Jim Henson Fund for Puppetry was established by Jane Henson to honor the memory of Jim Henson (1960), creator of the world famous Muppets.