Mad Puppeteer On The Loose! – Lunatic Cunning at Dixon Place

Back when performance artists roamed the streets of the East Village making magic and mayhem out of nothing but imagination and duct tape, there came a puppet wielding wild man named James Godwin. He and his group of merry prankster puppeteers, The Elementals, made delightful shows of object theater illusionary goodness. At some point this evolved into the very first Puppet Rock ensemble, Uncle Jimmy’s Dirty Basement, that brought filth and mayhem to the stage with a hand up its butt. Then they vanished. Or I vanished. Or something.

But if you want to know the truth, or some half-made-up story reconstructed from foggy memories of what passes for truth, then get thee on down to Dixon Place for James Godwin’s Lunatic Cunning, starting on Friday, April 6.

From the press release:

Lunatic Cunning is an original, new work by James Godwin, puppetry and performance art pioneer and founder of puppet comedy troupe, The Elementals, whose creations have been described by The Village Voice as –gorgeously wrought mutants who look like they evolved downstream from a nuclear waste dump and talk like vulgar barflies”. Lunatic Cunning is a solo, semi-autobiographical ‘mockumentary’, mixing experiences from Godwin’s own life – such as work with Julie Taymor on Across the Universe, as well as appearances on Saturday Night Live, Chappelle’s Show, PBS and with the Muppets–with a humorous examination of the occult roots of puppetry and performance art. The plot of Lunatic Cunning focuses on a shaman who is asked to cure a tribal elder who is dying of old age by using a language and puppet channeled to him by the spirit of the shaman. Structured as a lecture, the piece uses several puppet techniques such as tabletop, marionette, hand, shadow, mask and object. Highlighting the multiple techniques will be live drawing, ritual, lights and sound which make the connections between the various episodes and vignettes. The action of the show revolves around several stories from the artist’s personal experiences and others that relay theory and parables.

I haven’t seen it yet but I’ve got a good feeling about this one. And if you’ve never had a chance to see Godwin’s puppet work, you should definitely check it out.

James Godwin’s Lunatic Cunning
Fridays and Saturdays- April 6,7,13,14,20,21 at 7:30pm
Where: Dixon Place / 161A Chrystie Street / New York, NY 10002
www.dixonplace.org /212-219-0736
Tickets: $15 (advance), $18 / $12 stu/sen or TDF

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