The deadline looms. The Puppet People have less than 2 weeks to finish production and rehearsal on the show about Savannah badass Juliette Gordon Low. There are several balls in the air right now, and a small but dedicated crew are working our butts off on all of them at the same time.
The stage has been set up, but drapes need to be custom stitched, and hammock “shelves” made inside for storing puppets during the show.
The puppets are mostly done. There are still a few bodies to complete and costumes to be futzed with. Still so many details to add: yarn wigs, painted lips, rods and fishing line added to hands, jewelry stitched on. Stuff like that.
The audio is also mostly done. We’ve got a rough copy to rehearse with, and the final audio is being tweaked, with sound effects and music layered in. I spent a few hours last night going line by line through it with the sound dude Nate, who is amazingly talented. It’s a tedious process, but it was fun making all kind of sound effects, from rimshots to thuds to animal sounds to belches (I totally nailed the belch).
The video portions are being worked mostly by our video goddess Morgann, who is using videos, still shots, and photoshop to create the rear-projection video that will serve as the background for the show. Of course, it can’t all be done on the computer. Some of the shots have to be set up and filmed. For example, halfway through the show we “break” for commercial: a Billy Mays parody. We dressed a puppet with a plaid shirt and Billy Mays beard, set up a table with boxes of Girl Scout cookies and put up a kitchen backdrop. We filmed the spot, matching lip sync and audio track.
It’s definitely the most ambitious project I’ve worked on at Puppet People. It’s been a bit stressful, since I’m busier than I like to be. As a result, my house is currently filthy and I’ve bought WAY too many meals out in the last few weeks.
But what a great experience it is, especially for the Little Boy. He’s been with me the whole time. At first, when I was glued to the computer as I wrote and rewrote the script. Then, the days spent playing with his friend O at the studio while the grownups made puppets. He’s had to be quiet as a mouse during voice recordings, trying desperately not to laugh at the goofy sounds coming out of his mom and dad (Herban Cowboy did lots of voices for the show as well). He’s gone with us on trips around town to buy fabric and props. He’s sat in on meetings, where we all discuss what we’re doing and what still needs to be done. He’s helped with video shoots, holding puppets and moving sets around. He’ll be there as we rush to finish everything, and he’ll be watching rehearsals, seeing all the work we’ve done come together in a final product.
Theatre is an amazing learning process for children. Little Boy is learning SO MUCH by being around all this craziness. He’s learning how to finish what he starts, communicate effectively with others on a project, work within budget constraints, and how to work through something tedious without giving up. He’s had to practice patience and cultivate a willingness to step outside of his comfort zone. I’ve been so proud of him throughout this whole crazy thing.