I took a workshop yesterday about shadow puppets at Materials for the Arts. I must admit, I had thought the workshop was going to be more geared towards building these kind of puppets for professional performance (I'm going to two more workshops today on set construction and lighting design on a budget for the production company I sit on the artistic board for, Wide Eyed Productions), but instead it seemed geared more towards people involved in (NY) education. It was still fun--like craft time for adults--and it was good practice just in building them. I also discovered velum paper, a translucent paper you can use as a screen to perform behind, or to glue tissue paper on in order to project color. Gels would also work for this too, but not a lot of people I know have gels just sitting around the house. (In actuality, that is a lie, as I know a LOT of theatre people, and since my roommate is in lighting, I actually have some gels lying around my bedroom that she brought home for me once. But never mind.)
Most of the teachers made animals--there was an especially good crab and duck. I made an angel that was supposed to represent death on some level (I've had an idea for a graphic novel that will just not go away) and a dragon. Typical of myself, I must say. Two other people showed up who were clearly designy theatre types, and they made a pair of glasses that had one eye open, a fly with squiggling legs and movable wings, and a hand that opened and swatted the fly inside. Really complex, and yet still made from simple materials. It was really great.
I ended up giving my shadow puppets away to a woman who works in child's therapy--the use of them would involve the "playing space," which is safe and also familiar. I figured she'd use them more than I would. But I did take pictures for posterity!