I am convinced art making is my lifeline to possibility

ARTIST STATEMENT

Forever INSPIRED by a hand-stitched sock puppet from my grandma, my life’s work rests on discovering that I too could make my own toys. Forming Lone Wolf Tribe in 1997, my mission remains: create intelligent, physical & highly visual puppet theatre about our collective human story. As the eponymous lone wolf, I write, direct and perform alongside my puppet tribe— all rescued from landfill-fated couch cushions.

 

INTUITION guides me. After a failed attempt at a theatre collective many years ago, I sat directionless on a trashed couch on a Philadelphia sidewalk. Absentmindedly picking at a ripped foam cushion, I realized the very building blocks of my future vocation were then in my hands (and under my bum). And so I decided to sculpt a company of actors who wouldn’t as easily abandon me for pilot season in L.A. 

 

My work is interested more in authenticity than realism. Stylistic theatre conjures a deeper reality, letting me be masked while my intentions get revealed. And puppets, boundless in POSSIBILITY, are magical partners in innovative storytelling. Able to turn the habitual into an event (just watch one take a breath), who better to explore our world with fresh eyes while digging into our more challenging human terrain? 

 

Searching for IMAGINATIVE solutions to real world issues, I pull from current events and ancient history (sometimes my own). I’ve committed my career to explore subjects others might prefer to sidestep: the true costs of war (Veterans for Peace collaboration), the secret history of God (and the patriarchy), our planetary dominion (from the animals' viewpoint). While I can sympathize with Brecht who hoped his message would outlast an audience’s emotions, my puppets have a way of not only touching the heart but ripping it out sometimes. Don’t bring the kiddies! 

 

To date, I’ve made nine Lone Wolf Tribe productions, each taking longer than the last as I CHALLENGE myself to creatively go deeper. My new show is about looking at life’s impermanence as a beautiful thing. I’d really like to share that with everyone. It speaks to what a character in a Fellini film hoped to achieve— that a piece of art might help bury all the dead things we carry within ourselves. 

 

Valuing independence as well as collaboration, I sometimes fancy myself the sole puppeteer in the Titanic band. Those musicians gave their art until their end in spite of knowing their songs wouldn’t stop the ship from sinking. It makes me think of this quote from Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology: “the sole PURPOSE of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being”...

     I will certainly keep trying.

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