RIVER: A Puppet Myth
Written by Geneviève Paré and Ian McFarlane
River is an interdisciplinary puppet theatre production, which seeks to charge a new level of meaning and connection with the Bow River. Through puppetry and live music, Mudfoot Theatre is adventuring to tell a bold and intimate story informed by the historical, environmental and mythical significance of the Bow River. We are collaborating with a kaleidoscope of cultural influences to construct a tale which is raw, rugged, whimsical and identifiably Albertan.
The Bow River is a critical lifeline for the province, providing us with clean drinking water, irrigation for agriculture, hydroelectric power and habitat for wildlife. It can be both beautiful and treacherous. It is a symbol of home for many southern Albertans, and in the wake of the 2013 flood, this community holds even greater reverence to the destructive and also unifying power of the Bow River.
Through our puppet myth, River will carry its audience along on a journey, which follows the life story of the Bow River, including its birth and its death. River will address our timeless bond to our natural waterways and the ever-growing need to connect with, and protect them.
Wood Print by
The Hudson Bay Epic is a contemporary folktale set against the frigid backdrop of Henry Hudson's final attempt to find the northwest passage. Part historical adventure, part mystical love story, the play weaves a tall tale of forbidden romance, hidden identities and wild folk magic.
In 1610, Henry Hudson departed England on the ship "Discovery" to chart the arctic sea and attempt to find a route to the Orient. When winter came, he and his crew were forced to settler at the southern-most tip of James Bay, enduring starvation and scurvy trapped in the ice. With the come of spring, Hudson's crew mutinied against him and set him adrift in a small boat, never to be seen again.
Alongside this historical narrative we have devised a fictional love story. Andrew Bosworth is a woman who lives as a man amongst the Discovery's crew. Thomas Woodhouse, an actual historical figure of whom little is know, discovers her secret and in turn falls in love with her. This pseudo-homosexual relationship ends (or begins) with the lovers surrendering their mortal bodies to the sea and being transformed into Beluga whales.
The play is staged in and around a ship-like structure made out of reclaimed materials. All of the songs and sounds of the tale are created out of the acoustic qualities of the set itself -a PVC pipe becomes the breath of whales, water in a barrel becomes the churning of the sea, a fire extinguisher becomes the deep resonance of the arctic ice.
The Hudson Bay Epic has just finished its 2014 Fringe tour of the Winnipeg Fringe festival and the Calgary Fringe Festival. We plan on bringing it back with a second tour sometime in the near future.
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Photo Credit: Chantal Wall, David Smith, Lane Shordee
Poster Design: Jarett Sitter
A Riverside Puppet Wedding
A Public Puppetry Experiment
February 28th, 2016 - The Bow River
Created and Designed by Geneviève Paré and Ian McFarlane
"We are gathered here today to bear witness to the holy union of two great giants of fortune. Two kingdoms stand before you, and in these dark times, it is in their love and union that hope exists. Mr. Crude, Lord of the underworld, of the landlocked layer of ancient liquids has chosen the great Alandria, Goddess of plasticity, of the malleable and moveable, the carrier of commerce and commercial goods to be his bride in a union that will bring peace and prosperity to our people."
This larger than life couple was also featured in Chantal Wall's dance film, Submerged. The film will be screened as part of the Herland Feminist Film Festival on March 31st at Theatre Junction Grand.
Yin and Yang