CalArts, MFA (education)

Growing Up Linda, design, ©2007 Marsian De Lellis
Growing Up Linda, design, ©2007 Marsian De Lellis

On May 15th, 2009 I earned my MFA degree from California Institute for the Arts (CalArts) in Scenic Design in the Puppetry track from the Theater School and the Cotsen Center for Puppetry and the Arts. I attended CalArts between 2006-2009 under the mentorship of Janie Geiser and Susan Simpson and developed two major productions, Growing Up Linda and Bride of Wildenstein – The Musical,.

Calarts-Graduation-page3-300dpi
Calarts Graduation, May 15, 2009

While at CalArts, I focused on puppetry and performing objects as part of scenic design. I took calsses in marionette construction, miniature patterns, inflatables, stop-motion animation, the history of puppet theatre,  puppets in contemporary performance, scenic and video design, directing, writing, play analysis, improvisation, mask work, voice, producing, grant writing, circus design, and inflatables.

One of the academic highlights was researching and writing a paper on the use of live video feed in puppetry.  I also had the opportunity to teach a winter interim class with Caitlin Lainfoff on pop ups and paper engineering.

In addition to course work, I participated in a number of outside projects: I had an internship through Cornerstone Theatre at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, where I assisted Paul Zaloom and Lynn Jeffries with dramaturgy and shadow puppets. At the Velaslavaysay Panorama,  I was the house manager for Frankenstein and the Sunset Chronicles. At the Manual Archives, I was a marionettist in Susan Simpson’s Lead Feet and Nothing Upstairs.

Bride of Wildenstein, ©2009 Marsian De Lellis
Bride of Wildenstein, ©2009 Marsian De Lellis

While at CalArts, I premiered Growing Up Linda at the Edinburgh Festival in which the daughter of a famous ice cream mogul must come to terms with her troubled past, and developed Bride of Wildenstein – The Musical, in which an aging socialite grows fur and claws to recapture the attention of her philandering game hunter husband. Both productions went on to have a long lives beyond CalArts.