From June 7th-30th, 2007, I was a puppeteer in Lead Feet and Nothing Upstairs: A History of the Lifelike at the Manual Archives in Los Angeles. Lead Feet, written and directed by Susan Simpson, was a puppet play that focused on female triplets raised their grandmother and ideas about originality and personal identity. In Lead Feet, performed in the role of the grandmother, a marionette which I also voiced. There were 15 performances during the run of the show.
Lead Feet was an original puppet play by Susan Simpson tracing the footsteps of The Ditto Sisters, identical triplet troubadors who enter the city of Los Angeles and set off a wave of architectural and perhaps human replication. Lead Feet was a creation myth for our city, in which characters multiply and contract, and generations of artificial bodies mimic and intermingle with one another.
Lead Feet and Nothing Upstairs: A History of the Lifelike
Written and Directed by Susan Simpson
Puppet Design: Susan Simpson
Original Music by Emily Lacy and Eric Lindley
Costume Design by Sarah Brown
Lighting Design by Kristy Baltezore
Scenic Design by Susan Simpson with Alison Heimstead
Performed by Marsian De Lellis, Jackie Knox, Katie Shook, Kendra Ware. and Anne Yatco
Los Angeles Times – June 14, 2007, Mythmaking for Adults, by F. Kathleen Foley
Lead Feet and Nothing Upstairs: A History of the Lifelike, a piece that radicalizes and reinvents the notion of puppet theater
Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2007, Propagating Puppets by Diane Haithman,
La Taco June 11, 2007
The power of puppetry was present in the tiny detailed face of the crone-like grandmother, whose miniscule movements conveyed profound love and protection, whether reaching out to nothingness for a hug or spreading a heaven-sent blanket over her ward
The Manual Archives was an intimate performance and exhibition space that conducted narrative experiments with decoys, dummies, puppets, avatars, scale replicas, animated devices, apparitional bodies and live human beings.
From the Manual Archives mission:
Throughout the world, puppet theater is a vehicle for preserving and transmitting regional history and myth. With disarming visual appeal and uncanny mimicry, puppets pass on factual and fictional stories specific to the places from which they spring. The Manual Archives seeks to bring this tradition to the sprawling city of Los Angeles. Undaunted by the ridiculous impossibility of the task, The Manual Archives gathers statistics, anecdotal evidence, folklore, protestations, blatant fabrications, and legitimate oral histories. The findings of these efforts are returned to the city in a series of overlapping and interrelated puppet plays, films books, maps and artifacts.