Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Maker Spotlight: Studio Schaapman & Mouse Mansion!


Studio Schaapman is a family business, consisting of Karina Schaapman and her children, Tom, Ian, Manita, and Lili. They are the creators of the children’s book seriesMouse Mansion (translated into 25 languages).



In the books, they use detailed miniature settings they build themselves that can now be admired at their Amsterdam Muizenhuis (or Mousehouse) shop. At the back of the shop is their studio where they create their mouse worlds, and where visitors can look inside. People often ask questions about the inspiration, design, and construction of the mouse mansions.



In the Mouse Mansion shop & studio you can:
  • Marvel at the Mouse Mansion sets built for the books, including the harbor, funfair, circus, and theatre
  • See how they are built and ask the makers questions
  • Listen to audio books and read all the Mouse Mansion books
  • Browse around the shop for Mouse Mansion goodies
  • Children can color while parents can take a seat to read to their child




Studio Schaapman even provides video tutorials for those who want to build their own mouse houses!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Iconic Model Theatre Needs Good Home!

  Incredible infrastructure!  Wiring, controls, lighting, spotlights, fades - you name it, it has it...


A few weeks ago I was contacted by email about a Model Theatre that is looking for a good home. The model is described as a Model Cinema/Theatre with revolving stage. Cine films can be shown through the back wall of the Model if required. There is only one theatre with a revolving stage that comes to mind, and that is the London Palladium. Although sadly, the revolve was removed some years ago when the Theatre was bought by the Really Useful Group owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I am not sure if this is a scale model of the Palladium itself. The gentleman who made it was a Mr. Sam Witham, from Reading. He was a member of the then, Reading Society of Model and Experimental Engineers. He won First Prize with his Model in 1951.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

X-Men Wolverine as a Puppet



Australian star Hugh Jackman, well-known for his role as Wolverine, was recently in Taiwan to promote the film Logan. At a press conference there, he was given a Taiwanese glove puppet in the likeness of his X-Men character from the film company, 20th Century Fox. Jackman said he will treasure the amazing gift forever, and will have to find a way to keep it away from his children.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

A Portrait of the Puppet Master as a Young Man



Barnaby Dixon is a very talented young man, with an innate ability to create both visually (puppets) and orally (character voices), as well as write/ad lib some VERY funny stories for his puppets. Check his videos out to see for yourself...

Friday, December 30, 2016

A New Toy Theatre is Born: HAMILTON

The toy theatre includes a great example of pre-restoration (2013) interior architectural accuracy...
[Photo Credit:  Kelli Kirk]

Last week, one very lucky little boy received a rare Christmas gift nowadays:  A toy theatre. Not only was it a toy theatre, but it was an original, newly-conceived theatre based on the Richard Rodgers theatre in New York City.  On top of that, it was based on that theatre's current production - HAMILTON.

Milo's mother, Kelli shares a bit more:
For the past month, Mark and I have worked late at night after bedtime to build Milo a Victorian style "Toy Theater" of the play Hamilton: An American Musical - it includes a wooden stage, and all the players on tiny marionette wires. It was a
Actual side marque that Milo's toy
theatre was faithfully based upon...
painstaking project with tremendous scope creep but it is faithful to the original Victorian style toy theater as we could muster, except in the LED lighting - executive prerogative.
Toy Theater was a cultural phenomenon in the 19th century, a style of puppeteering that included a small stage and tiny 'marionette' style characters. Parents would go to the theater and bring home a toy version of the theater so the child could act out a play. When we visited London, puppeteers recommended we visit Pollock's Toy Museum which has a large collection. Pollock's was one of those quintessentially London places - tiny, many floors tall, higgledy-piggledy collections of amazing old toy theaters and childhood ephemera. Milo was completely captivated by them -- but they aren't really made today [at least not in the same way they once were - Note from Trish.]
Milo has had a passion for puppetry ever since he can
remember.  His Christmas gift of a toy theatre version
of the Richard Rodgers Theatre, featuring a production
of "Hamilton", made at night in secret by his parents!

[Photo Credit:  Kelli Kirk]

Our gift was a success and Milo declared, "Mom, this is the best present I ever got!" and quickly set about to acting out the Cabinet Battle.

From an article called The Rise and Fall of Toy Theatre (in recent years, it is rising again):

...A toy theatre was, as we will see, a tiny but complex structure—as intricate and lovingly assembled, in its way, as model railroads can be for today’s hobbyists. In its prime, it was not a nostalgic hobby but a breathless bulletin from the newly emerging world of mass communications and global celebrities—a chance for ordinary people to touch their heroes in person...

I have it on good authority that Milo and his Mom are two of the very lucky people who have secured tickets to HAMILTON, and will be attending a performance in the new year, in the new future. When Milo comes back home, I have a feeling he will be even more excited about not only the theatre but putting on a performance.


Welcome to the toy theatre family, Milo!

Comparing the theatre's exterior front to the toy theatre's, you can see the amount of detail that Milo's parents,
Kelli & Mark, put into recreating the Rodger's theatre on a miniature scale - a very fine job for their first time.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Rebel Red & The Wolf

Red encounters the Wolf




Presents


Sunday, January 8, 2017
[See Details by clicking on poster on the right]

Rebel Red lives with her mum Penny and her dad Will  in the a sleepy country village. Penny runs the community shop, Will is the forest ranger. Family life is disrupted when Granny Bake-Off’s herbal medicines get mixed up, and Grandpa Jack spots a huge wolf near their home...

This is a family show adapted by Joe Gladwin from the traditional LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD story

Help arrives in the nick of time!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Mouse Shops by Anonymouse

"Am I too late?" Mr. Mouse wonders.  It looks like he is - the door is locked, the lights are out, and no one answers...






"Mrs. Mouse will be very disappointed," Mr. Mouse mutters to himself as he leaves...
The mouse shop in-the-making.  The creative process and attention to detail are amazing!
You may think you’re a nice, considerate person.

But ask yourself: have you ever considered the appalling lack of shopping centres for tiny mice?

No. We didn’t think so.

Thankfully, some artists have made it their mission to give mice the shopping opportunities they’ve been desperately waiting for.

Anonymouse is an anonymous collective of artists. We do not know much about them, other than the fact that they’ve now spent quite some time creating very small shops for mice around Sweden.

The shop is about to open after an early morning rain...


The shops are all perfectly mouse-sized, and are decorated with mouse-friendly meals, posters advertising upcoming mouse concerts, tiny chairs for customers to perch on, and all other forms of mouse-related delights.

‘For us the main point with the little scenes are to spread a bit of joy, so the question of our identities seems quite irrelevant,’ Anonymouse told metro.co.uk when asked to reveal their true selves.

‘The scene is there for its own sake so shifting focus to us just seems unnecessary.’

The attention to detail is amazing; nods to other rodentia works is amusing. 
The tiny labels, the country-of-origin flags...it all adds to the "reality of the small"!


Anonymouse told us that the idea for shops for mice started over a year ago in Paris.

‘We are obviously fond of miniatures,’ they said.

‘We like to imagine a world where mice lives parallel to ours but just slightly out of sight. It was also a bit of a fun challenge to look at a “human” object and consider what a mouse would do with it.’

They started to create the shops in March, and now work on making new ones occasionally, as the need arises.

The two mouse shops are located on a busy street corner, tucked away into a window well.

A customer's bike, a menu on the wall, and a credit card list on the door - who knew mice used credit cards?!

When asked if there’s a deeper meaning to the work other than providing mice with shops, Anonymouse said: ‘Nope. Only if you want it to be.’

Deep.

Banksy Mouse?
Anyway, the whole thing is lovely, and mice finally have a place to buy tiny croissants. Hooray.

If you’d like to keep up to date on all mouse-focused building works, follow Anonymouse on Instagram.

Source:  MetroUK

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Toy Theatre Aficionado: Ulrich Chmel



A wonderful video of a toy theatre production by Ulrich Chmel of Vienna, Austria...



Here we see Ulrich with a nifty idea - a wearable toy theatre!  He appears to be doing some audio effects with a tambourine/drum and singing.  I think he is doing a demonstration of toy theatre at a school, from the context on his blog I found this image at.  It is all in German, and not very friendly to translation programs.

We find toy theatre enthusiasts around the world.  It is fun to meet others who love the same thing we do, even if all we can do and smile and nod!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Great Small Works: NEW SHOW!

We are delighted to announce that La MaMa, in association with Great Small Works, presents our newest show,  
Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls

From October 28th through November 6th, 2016.

Please come, invite your friends, and support this exciting project!
Did we say we are delighted?
Yes, indeed!

And we are also struggling to find the funds to make these performances possible. Any donation will go a long way toward paying our artists -- keeping flavorful modernist Yiddish alive! Asking useful questions in tough times! Laughing at jokes our ancestors laughed at (still funny and in translation!) 
       
WE THANK YOU!

moscow hotel

Great Small Works revisits the work of radical 20th-century New York City puppeteers Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler. In a bilingual Yiddish-English play that uses Maud and Cutler's satirical puppet scripts and original graphics, together with Great Small Works' own puppets and projections, and appearances by demented dybbuks and Mae West, Muntergang is a meditation on historical models for changing power relationships.

Created in collaboration with the archive of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research by Great Small Works members John Bell, Trudi Cohen, Stephen Kaplin, Jenny Romaine and Roberto Rossi.

With puppeteers Joseph Therrien and Sam Wilson
Music by Jessica Lurie and Hannah Temple
Lights by Meredith Holch; sound by Akeyjoa Ando
Script by Jenny Romaine

Nourish your queer political desire today. Enjoy this limitless non-normalized,  very open utopian vision of what's possible...

Buy tickets here
Make a donation here

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Gnomist

Deep in the forest of Overland Park, KS, little gnomes made a home. But how did they get there? This is the story of paying it forward, one little house at a time. A Great Big collaboration with filmmaker Sharon Liese and CNN Films, present The Gnomist...

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Ma'agalim (Circles) / Jane Bordeaux (Artist)


Jane Bordeaux, a band based in Tel Aviv, has launched a Hebrew language music video for “Ma’agalim”, using a rotating penny arcade entertainment machine to explore the concept of cycles. A wooden doll, stuck in place and time, is overtaken by every-day life scenarios. Finally the clockwork behind the scenes comes to a breaking point, sending the doll and all the characters into a new dimension. 
- From the Inspiration Room
Life certainly does seem like a matter of just going in circles day after day, especially as you get older. This delightful animation also has a deeper more melancholy message. The lyrics are translated, below...

Lyrics
Translated from Hebrew

Nights turns into days
Days turn into years
And inside them I am going
Fast and in circles
Winds are blowing at me
Blowing down my neck
Everything seems too far
Oversizing me

It’s not me that’s progressing
It’s just the time that’s moving on
It’s just another passing train
It’s a further tightening rope

Sunrises sinking fast
Seasons passing more
And I am the same
while the time is cutting short

Sunday, June 19, 2016

West End Live: Pollock's Life-Size Alice!

As they do every year, Pollock's Toy Shop has set up a stage right along with the big guys they were originally modeled after (pun intended) at West End Live! all this weekend.

On their Instagram, they posted that, "We'll be down at Trafalgar Square all weekend with our giant life size #AliceinWonderland extravaganza - come and be photographed down the rabbit hole..."

The Mad Hatter strikes a pose during a break in the tea party...
[Source:  Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop Instagram]

"I'll be 'mother', shall I?" asks the Mad Hatter...
[Source:  Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop Instagram]

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Tunnel Book: Zombifying a Classic

When watching a recent film entitled, Pride + Prejudice + Zombies, I was enchanted by its opening prologue...



In keeping with Regency-era authenticity, the prologue unfolds through a tunnel book, providing a theatrical stage for the fictional narrative to take place. Working with satirical newspaper cartoonist Martin Rowson, Ben and team transformed hand drawn illustrations into 3D animations, intricately rendered and paced to the prologue’s voice over narration...Pride + Prejudice + Zombies was all done in 3D, the team worked hard to recreate the visceral and dusty reality of a regency tunnel book, they added creases, paper texture, flickering candle light, jerky animation, lens distortion and depth. - The Mill
A wonderful article about the "world-building mashup".