In June 2016, I was the recipient of the Eugene O’Neill Center Alumni Fund to participate in the National Puppetry Conference. While at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, I worked on the script for Model Killer: Giant Crimes and Tiny Cover-Ups as part of the writing strand with mentor, Martin Kettling.
Model Killer is a morbid comedy centered on a disgruntled dollhouse maker turned investigator. Vivian Nutt builds dioramas of unsolved murders, only for it to be revealed that she is in fact, a serial killer. In Model Killer, I am creating a universe in which I invite the viewer to reconsider female serial killers, the historically feminine craft of miniatures, and murder as entertainment. At the culmination of the conference, there was a private reading. I returned to the O’Neill the following year for an artist-in-residence and performance of the first scene, Model Victims.
More about Martin Kettling from the National Puppetry Conference Website:
Martin Kettling is currently the General Manager at the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte. In 2010, Martin was part of the team at The O’Neill which was awarded the Special Tony Award for Regional Theatre. His work there included literary management, dramaturgy, teaching and Google Apps Script developer. As a dramaturg, he has worked on new plays with Rachel Axler, Rebecca Gilman, Lauren Gunderson, Jennifer Haley, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Gregory Moss, Ursula Rani-Sarma, and Anne Washburn. He has also supported the development of work by Julia Cho, Nilo Cruz, Jason Grote, and Jeff Whitty. At Arena Stage in Washington, DC, he assisted the world premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play, and served as writer’s assistant to Moisés Kaufman on 33 Variations. Credits in puppetry include working as dramaturg for Leslie Cararra-Rudolph, and presenting his trunk show Air Piracy in Steppenwolf’s Garage . Martin has worked internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the International Chekhov Festival in Moscow, the University of Passau, Germany, and helped found the Baltic Playwrights Conference. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University and serves as an emeritus member of the Board of Directors for The Ruckus Theater in Chicago.
The mission of the O’Neill’s National Puppetry Conference is to encourage puppet artists to create and communicate through the visual and kinetic form of the puppet, to push beyond their personal boundaries, and develop new works for puppet theater. Participants collaborate with renowned guest directors, puppet artists, and playwrights to develop innovative productions conceived by guest artists, as well as presentations initiated by the Conference participants.
For eight days each summer, puppet artists have the opportunity to explore various performance styles through rehearsals and workshops on writing, music, marionettes, and more. Puppet artists also have the option to gather before the main conference for three days of intensive workshops. The main conference culminates with two public performances, featuring new works which explore the extraordinary range and power of the puppet.