Monday, November 19, 2007

Strings Attached

Burlington Free Press' weekend edition featured a story about two puppet shows at the Flynn this month: The Salzburg Marionette Theater performing The Sound of Music on the MainStage Tuesday, November 27, and the recent weekend performances of The Viva La Voce Puppet Opera's Die Fledermaus in FlynnSpace.

Free Press Staff Writer Brent Hallenbeck writes: "The highly regarded Salzburg Marionette Theater is coming to Burlington at the end of the month. The Austrian company has performed The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and several Mozart operas, but only recently tackled The Sound of Music, the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musical set in the Salzburg Marionette Theater’s hometown. The production made its world premiere Nov. 2 in Dallas and is visiting six other American cities before arriving in Burlington.

"Not only is Salzburg Marionette Theater producing a musical set in its homeland, it’s also bringing the production to the current homeland of the von Trapp family, whose escape from the Nazis is at the center of The Sound of Music. The von Trapps settled in Stowe after fleeing Europe. The youngest child of Maria and Captain von Trapp, Johannes, is owner of the Trapp Family Lodge just outside Stowe.

"He said he has seen various versions of The Sound of Music about a half-dozen times.

"'It’s always a complicated affair,' Johannes said of watching his family’s story play out. 'It’s not a simple enjoyment kind of thing. It brings all sorts of feelings back.'

"He will be attending the Salzburg Marionette Theater performance with his daughter and her 4-year-old daughter; he plans to find his enjoyment by watching the performance through his granddaughter’s eyes."
To read the entire story, visit the Free Press' website.

For a review of The Viva La Voce Puppet Opera's Die Fledermaus, read Penelope Wall's wonderful post-performance blog post.

Sara Felder's Jugglefest!

posted by Chris Ilstrup
Flynn friend

Chris Ilstrup, husband of former and much-missed Flynnie Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup, submitted his thoughts on Sara Felder’s Jugglefest! workshop. The FlynnArts workshop was part of Felder's week-long Flynn residency, which culminated in three sold-out performances of her one-woman performance, Out of Sight: A Blind Comedy that Juggles Faith, Israel, and My Mom.

Sara Felder, comedian and juggler, taught a two hour juggling workshop at the Flynn Center on Saturday, November 10. I was lucky enough to take the class and, as she promised, I can now juggle. Here's video proof.

There were all types of students, older, younger, male, female. Three of the participants were accomplished jugglers. And teenagers. Sara was able to teach them some new tricks, a juggle called Mill's Mess. They were as surprised as she was that she was able to teach them the trick in two hours.

Five newbies were in attendance (including the Flynn's own artistic director, Arnie Malina) and Sara started us out easy: One scarf. Up and Down. Up and Down. Then we added a second. Up and across, up and across. Then a third scarf and it looked like juggling!

Next were balls. One ball, two balls, and then, the third ball. Look at us, we can do this! We all took a chance to show off the skill we had learned and everyone got a round of applause.

Thanks to the Sara Felder and the Flynn Center, I am now available to perform at weddings, bar mitzvahs, and birthday parties. Well, maybe not just yet….

Will Ilstrup take his act on the road? Find out—visit his own blog, Inside Chris.

...Arnie adds:

I took my first juggling class with Sara Felder at the Flynn. Since I think of myself as terribly uncoordinated, and my mind usually interrupts challenging flights into space like juggling three balls, I was happily surprised how much I enjoyed Sara's class.

Like Chris said, she started us off with scarves of many different colors. It was an upper and lower body workout, moving your hands fast enough to throw one scarf up in the air while catching the other two at the same time—and remembering which hand to catch which scarf, right brain, left brain, comedy in motion. But after some practice, I got it to work, and had a ball. Same with the balls. Realizing one side was easier to start with than the other, I practiced my weaker side, which was courageous and liberating. I made some progress. And then my mind went blank. By then I had been working out for nearly an hour and a half and my hand/eye/left brain/right brain coordination started lagging—my mind was overloaded.

I took a rest. I did it again. I did it still yet gain. I remembered. It became intuitive. I did it without remembering, and there were three balls in the air. It was magic.