Director Robin Frohardt, in association with the HERE Arts residency program Dream Music Puppetry, has directed a darkly comedic and whimsical puppet piece entitled THE PIGEONING. The play will feature a completely original score by composer Freddi Price. In the words of the creators, the show will “examine man’s obsession with cleanliness, safety and control” through the story of its protagonist, Frank. Frank is a clean, neurotic man overly obsessed with office safety. And Frank is terrified of pigeons. As Frank begins to notice that the inherently chaotic birds are making his life more and more difficult, he begins to formulate a “pigeon conspiracy” within his mind. The pigeons are out to get him, and as he becomes more and more entrenched in spying on them and mapping their every move, his former obsessions fall by the wayside, and his life gets more and more out of control.
At the close of the play, Frank will discover (either in reality or in his own mind) that the pigeons are preparing for a giant flood, and the frazzled man gets himself prepared to be swept out to sea. Those behind the show explain, “The goal of THE PIGEONING is to invite the audience to laugh at our clinging to safety and order in the face of the end of the world that is always and never coming [...] The performance serves as an opportunity to find humor in the frustration and futility and to acknowledge the relief in surrender.”
This all sounds unbelievably moving, especially since it will be performed with Bunraku style puppets. Bunraku is a Japanese puppet form in which puppeteers directly manipulate their puppets. No strings, no sticks. It is an intimate form of puppetry, and it allows for extremely precise puppet movements and gestures. Bunraku puppets look human, and yet we see human puppeteers as they manipulate their limbs. I think the aesthetic fits perfectly with Frank’s poignant narrative about the nature of control, safety, and ultimately, surrender.
Lucky for us, we’re all invited to an amazing benefit for this show at the hippest Brooklyn party warehouse ever, The Chicken Hut. AND the awesome DJ Dirty Finger will be there! There will be an all night dance party and a rooftop BBQ; what more could you ask for??
Join us Friday, September 6th for a magical evening of good art, good music, good food, and good fun!
Watch some of Frohardt's incredible puppetry below: