Picture of an Eagle

Posted by Rachel on August 21, 2008

Company Members

We knew he could wrangle birds of prey. We knew he could cast a TV commericial, and direct, and narrate with authority, and tell a funny story.

We knew he had a keen fashion sense.

Now we know that this guy, Mr. Matt Miller, also knows puppets.

That’s right. He studied them. At puppet school.

Matt led an amazing puppetry workshop for the entire company at the retreat this year.

First, we used pipe cleaner puppets on our hands to practice puppet speech, and Matt showed us how to place our voices to create distinct characters. Then he split us into groups, each with a limited smattering of puppet props and gave us stories to adapt—stories with challenging imagery or highly emotional content that might be difficult to approach in our usual style. Within a very limited time, each group came up with an amazing adaptation. Thanks to the props, each piece had a strong tone and aesthetic all its own.

Here, Kurt works out how to turn a piece of rope into a constantly-shifting landscape, while coat-hanger birds teach Tai how to fly.


The white kitchen utensils in this picture represent friendly house ghosts. 


Here, Brennan plays a poor guy named Carl who’s trying to save a forest from being cut down. Our group had to use green string, a collection of mops, and some red and white paper plates. You don’t want to know what happens to the beautiful tree line when the mops get their hands on a pair of scissors . . .


Part of the inspiration for this workshop comes from the moving adaptation of “The Crying Woman” that Oona created last year for the Cleveland School show directed by Matt. She used flat pieces of colored paper that come together to build shapes against a horizon line. That story’s been rocking Grandma for the last few weeks, and I can’t wait to see what Matt’s workshop inspires at school shows in the coming year!

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