On October 22nd, 2009 I opened Bride of Wildenstein – The Musical at the Gallery at Avalon Island in Orlando. In Bride of Wildenstein – The Musical, an aging socialite grows fur and claws to recapture the attention of her philandering game hunter husband. The weekend of performances October 22nd-24th, 2009 headlined the Orlando Puppet Festival, organized by Ibex Puppetry.
After the run at Avalon Island, Bride of Wildenstein went on for a run at the Cameo Theatre in Orlando the following weekend.
Described as “demented, touching, and inherently strange” by Flavorpill (Los Angeles), Bride of Wildenstein is a weird and tragic love story that examines the making of a monstrosity through one woman’s personal struggle, and the loss of her sense of self. As her marriage dissolves, she begins to reinvent herself through drastic measures – surgical procedures to become more feline, which only further heighten her sense of estrangement. The heroine’s story is loosely inspired by tabloid accounts of the real-life “cat woman”, Jocelyn Wildenstein. In it I hope to gently turn the abrasive glare of the mirror onto the face of the audience and pose the question, Have you ever gone too far for love?
From the program:
Ibex Puppetry Presents
Bride of Wildenstein – The Musical
Written and Performed by Marsian De Lellis
Written with P.J. McWhiskers
Directed by Derron Wood
Musical Composition by Josh Senick
Originally directed by Leila Ghaznavi
Produced by Marsian De Lellis and Jennifer Koblosky
Marsian De Lellis (Writer, director, performer, producer, puppet designer) is a Los Angeles-based puppet artist, writer, and director whose work teeters on the precipiec of cute and abject and is informed by breaking news, 12-step lore and pop culture, sprinkled with a heavy does of cyber-spirituality. Marsian’s last show, Growing Up Linda is an off-kilter look at the fictitious daughter of a famous ice cream mogul. Excerpts of Linda have been performed around the country at Theater for the New City, Mad Cow, and Perishable Theater and internationally where it premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Puppets from the show are currently on display at the Avalon Gallery. Since then, Marsian has focused on developing Bride of Wildenstein – The Musical, inspired by tabloid accounts of the real life cat woman, Jocelyn Wildenstein, in which an aging socialite grows fur and claws in hopes of recapturing the attention of her philandering game hunter husband. Excerpts have been performed in Phoenix, New York City, Atlanta, and Olympia. Marsian will be performing Bride next in Los Angeles at the Panorama with support from the Durfee Foundation.
P.J. McWhiskers (Co-Writer) is a performance art entity, who has for thirteen years been creating and collaborating in original works staged in Boston, Provincetown and New York City. At the age of seventeen, P.J. joined the Massachusetts-based theatre company, The Gold Dust Orphans, where she performed as a principal member for eight years. She is best known for curating the Provincetown based performance salon and booze fest, KooK, co-writing and staring in Fun Time with Pea-Pie and Jo-Jo and You Suck At Life and Everthing Else, a sketch comedy karaoke show.
Josh Senick (Composer, Sound Design) is a Los Angeles based composer and sound designer who focuses in live theatrical work. Originally from Bethlehem Pennsylvania, Josh attended Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, Ohio, where he received a B.A. in Music and Theater in 2005. He moved to Los Angeles, California in the fall of 2006 to attend the California Institute of the Arts, where he received an M.F.A. in Theatrical Sound Design in 2009.
Derron Wood (Director) is the Executive Artistic Director of Flock Theatre in New London, CT. He has brought a Flock company to the National Puppetry Conference since 1992, and oversees their integration with the guest artists selected to participate. Derron is a Connecticut Commission on the Arts Master Teaching Artist. He has developed numerous educational-based residencies for schools and museums.
Hunter Wells (Costume Design, Costume Designer, MFA CalArts, 2010) Theatre Credits: Funnyhouse of a Negro, dir. Micael Garcés (CalArts, 2009), John Gabriel Borkman, dir. Maureen Husky (CalArts 2009), How to Disappear and Never be Found, dir. Lily Whitsett (CalArts 2008), Aesop’s Dreams, dir. Chris Cole (CalArts 2008). Film/Video Credits: “The Way I Loved You,” Music Video feat. Diana Shaginyan, dir Darrel Rigby (AFI 2009), “Love Me Dead,” dir. James Connelly (AFI 2009), Matinee, dir. Miachael Callahan (USC 2009), A Month and Some Days, dir Lin Qiu (CalArts 2008).
Lee Frank Perez Vargas (Costume Design) has worked as a designer since 1989. Lee has designed costume for 8 theatre productions and three short films. Lee has a small studio in Los Feliz near Griffith Park from where he creates and teaches his skills.
Brandon Stirling Baker (Lighting Designer) has designed lighting for Theatre, Dance and Art Installations in Los Angeles, New York, Minneapolis and Edinburgh, Scotland. His designs have been produced at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival, Great Small Works International Toy Theatre Festival, Los Angeles Music Center, ACDFA Dance Festival (University of Minnesota), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Automata (Los Angeles), REDCAT (Los Angeles), Manual Archives (Los Angeles), Museum of Jurassic Technology (Los Angeles), Company of Angels, Still Speaking Theatre, The Skirball Cultural Center and the Santa Monic Museum of Art. B.F.A. Lighting Design, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and studied abroad at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
Sarah Marie Ibrahim (Assistant Sound Design, Vocal Coach) – Sarah Marie Ibrahim is a graduate student in Experimental Sound Practices and Integrated Media at CalArts. Her works include vocally driven electronic music, recontextualized opera, multi-media installations and sound and video design for live performance. She has performed at Issue Project Room (NYC), The Kitchen (NYC), Dangerous Curve (LA), Highways (LA), and LACMA (LA).
Leila Ghaznavi (Original Co-Director, Editor) is proud to be a part of the Bride of WIldenstein. She will be receiving her MFA in acting this spring from the California Institute of the Arts. She has trained extensively with the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and Giovanni Fusetti of the Helikos School. Past directing credits include Little Mary Sunshine and Into the Woods.
Rachel Weir (Original Costume Designer, Design Dramaturgy) Rachel’s aesthetic is eclectic. Her work ranges from futuristic to modern realism to mythopoetic to bubblegum pop culture. The joy of designing for her comes from the discovery and connection in constructing metaphors with her collaborators. Her designs resonate with meaning, humor, irreverence and rhythm. Bride of Wildenstein is her second collaboration with Marsian De Lellis. She has earned her MFA in Design from CalArts.
Chase Woolner (Puppet Builder) has been puppeteering since the age of five when he started performing in his elementary school and with Red Moon Puppet Theater in Chicago. In high school, he founded one of the nation’s few high school puppetry clubs, which is still going strong today with 137 alumni. Chase is currently pursuing his degree in puppetry at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).
Sarah Sowell (Puppet Builder) is a BFA III Scenic Design Major, planning on completing her final year of her degree with CalArts. She is very excited to have the experience as the Scenic and Properties Assistant on Marsian’s Bride of Wildenstein. While her professional experiences range as freelance: designer, prop mistress, carpenter, and scenic artist, working frequently with 3DX Scenic Studios Incorporated and Anitech Systems Incorporated. Most of her prior work with the school has been somewhat experimental and interdisciplinary projects, to name a few: acting as Assistant Technical Director to La Petit Macabre – a puppet opera by Caitlin Lainoff, Art Director for Echoes – a stop motion animation film by Nicole Emmons, and Art Director for Lucir and Sombra – a live film/visual novella by Sandra Powers.
Jennifer Koblosky (Co-Producer) is a recent graduate of the California Institute of the Arts. During her school career, she has worked on several projects as a stage manager as well as a production manager. Some of her CalArts’ credits include The Watchers (SM), Silver Circus (ASM), The Castle (PM), Vineland Stelae (SM), Platee (PM), and blu (PM). She has also traveled to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with CalArts for the last three years and served as the production stage manager for the new plays Autopilot (Edinburgh Fringe Premiere 2007) and Growing Up Linda (Edinburgh Fringe Premiere 2008) and One Eye Gone (Edinburgh Premiere 2009).
Special Thanks Janie Geiser, Leslie Cararra-Rudolph, Heather Henson, Vandy Wood, Gregory Ballora, Lynn Jeffries, Raphael Lopez0Barantez, Chi Kyung, Byung Lee, Richard Termine, Marty Robinson, Susan Simpson, Ellen McCartney, Chris Barecca, Steven Levine, Lynn Roesnfeld, Pam Arciero, Ron Binion, Z. Briggs, Marianne Kubik, Larry Seigel, Robert Smythe, Alice Boehm, Tyler Bunch, EuGean Seo (Originating Set Designer), E. Martin Giminez (Originating Sound Designer), Amanda Smith (Originating Scenic Artist), Rachel Weird (Originating Costume Designer and Dramaturgy)
Developed at CalArts School of Theater with the Costen Center for Puppetry and the Arts, REDCAT Studio, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. Made possible with the additional support from The Durfee Foundation ARC (Artist’s Resource for Completion) Grant, CalArts Special Projects, Office of the President, The CalArts Interdisciplinary Grant, and CalArts Student Council.
Ibex Festival Staff
Heather Henson – President, Artistic Director
Vandy Wood – Executive Director
Brad Richard – Office Manager
Sean Keohane – Festival Consultant
Kelli Cummins-Branson – Marketing Coordinator
Sarah Yates – Gallery Curator and Handmade Puppet Dreams Coordinator
Tori Oakes – Production Manager
Marsian De Lellis – Puppet Slam Network Coordinator
Tim Ellis – Marketing
Jack Fields – Project Assistant
Curtiss Mitchell – Special Projects
Davey Jordan – Special Projects
Ibex Production Manager – Tori Oakes
Stage Manager and Ibex Lighting Coordinator – Sarah Yates
Sound Board – Curtiss Mitchell
Follow spot Operator – Tara Kromer
See postcards from the 2009 Orlando Puppet Festival here.