Watermark – Goblin Party, Orlando (press)

On May 23rd, 2010, Watermark, Orlando had a write-up on Goblin Party Interactive, in which I performed David Bowie’s onscreen role of Jared, the Goblin King. Goblin Party Interactive was  a theatrical screening of Jim Henson’s dark musical fantasy film, Labyrinth. Ibex Puppetry presented Goblin Party Interactive in a similar format of the Rocky Horror Picture Show with live actors performing in front of the screen, audience costumes and participation, and with the added touch of puppetry and indoor kites.

From Watermark by Scottie Campbell,

Jim Henson’s 1986 film Labyrinth was considered a box office failure, but you couldn’t prove that by the legions of fans who treasure it. It’s easy to see how the fantasy film has gained a cult following with star David Bowie crooning his own tunes, imaginative puppets, and a classic children’s tale storyline. Now at the 2010 Orlando Fringe, Labyrinth gets theRocky Horror treatment with a live interactive screening led by none other than Henson’s daughter, Heather.

Audience members receive a goodie bag as they arrive, and instructions on what to do with its contents. You’ll get a small rattle to shake whenever Toby cries, a Nerf-ish shooter to battle fairies, a fruit slice to taste when Hoggle give Sarah the peach, to name a few of the items. You can also stop by IBEX Puppetry’s tent in the Beer Pasture before the show to create horns and a mask to wear at the appropriate times.

The lead roles of Sarah and Jareth the Goblin King are reenacted by Heather Henson and Marsian De Lellis respectively, with their tongues placed firmly in their cheeks. The cast playfully uses puppets, props, set piece and beautiful kites — crafted by Curtiss Mitchell — to recreate the story in front of its big screen original.

You’ll be encouraged to participate, but you won’t be able to resist hurling a foam rock at the goblin army, anyway. If you’re lucky, you may even find yourself dancing with Bowie’s doppelganger at the Masquerade Ball.

While childlike silliness is in order, the event is a respectful homage at its heart, appealing to Labyrinth faithfuls as well as those unacquainted with the film — fun is had by all.


Goblin Party, 2010
Goblin Party, 2010

From Wikipedia:

Labyrinth is a 1986 British-American adventure musical dark fantasy film directed by Jim Henson, executive-produced by George Lucas, and based upon conceptual designs by Brian Froud. The film revolves around 15-year-old Sarah’s (Jennifer Connelly) quest to reach the center of an enormous otherworldly maze to rescue her infant brother Toby, who Sarah wished away to Jareth, the Goblin King (David Bowie). With the exception of Connelly and Bowie, most of the film’s significant characters are played by puppets produced by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

Ibex Puppetry was an entertainment company dedicated to promoting the fine art of puppetry in all of its mediums. The recipient of multiple UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionette) awards since its founding in 2000, Ibex Puppetry supported puppet art in the mediums of film, stage, gallery exhibits, workshops and artist presentations.

From the Orlando Fringe website:

The Orlando Fringe provides an accessible, affordable outlet that draws diverse elements of the Orlando, national and international theatrical and performance community together and inspires creative excellence through the arts.

The history of Fringe Festivals began in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1947. There, a number of performing artists who were not official participants of the Edinburgh International Festival (whose participants are invited by its General Director) decided to produce their own work in empty stores and church basements. Thus, their work was staged literally “on the fringe” of the established festival. The concept was an immediate success and the Fringe soon became as – if not more – popular as the “official” Edinburgh Festival.  The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as of 2012 is the largest festival in the world and Europe’s #1 tourist destination.

Following the example of the Edinburgh Fringe, other Fringe Festivals sprang up in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia in the following decades, many of which follow the true Fringe philosophy – to provide artists with the opportunity to show their work in an uncensored and unjuried environment and to give 100% of ticket sales back to them.

The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival was created in 1991 by Terry Olson (now Director of the Orange County Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs), Andy Anthony and Rick Kunst. The first festival was held in 1992 in downtown Orlando, with most venues being created in empty storefronts specifically for the festival. This continued until 2004, when the festival was split between downtown Orlando and Loch Haven Park.  The move to Loch Haven proved a success and so, from 2005 on, the festival has been entirely in Loch Haven Park and the beautiful Ivanhoe Village neighborhood.