A Journey Into European Puppetry

21st Century Faust

Three Motions

My Hidden Book of Puppet Plays

Everypuppet Good Deeds EP Knowledge

A scene from Everypuppet in 2013 in Haines Alaska

And so…

Last year, before I knew I would be moving, I decided that I had been sitting on too much of my creative output. And that none of it was doing any work to help bring in the finances one needs to live. (And believe me I’ve got a lot of this artistic debris lying around.) So I decided to go ahead put three of my puppet plays together and have them printed up into a book called THREE MOTIONS. ‘Motions’ was the Shakespearean age term for puppets. And I always prefer the more poetic language of the past when I can get away with it. And so I put the text together on my own and had a small press print up 150 copies. And then I discovered that my old house was to be sold out from under me and life as I had been living it for the past 21 years was over. And so my box of copies arrived and I was left without a means to sell them since I had to go into working exile into Europe, and I certainly couldn’t send them to anyone from the road.

Three Motions

Three Motions going nowhere.

I did give a few copies away to those who had taken part in some of the plays here in Haines. And I brought ten copies down to my local bookstore. I expected that given the small size of the book they might put it somewhere visible on their counter. Alas the bookstore was sold almost at exactly the same time as I was leaving and the new owner obviously didn’t get what I was trying to do. I watched her put all ten copies sideways into a shelf, where no one would ever look, since they have no words on the spine. And that is where they remained until I returned in April six months. Not one sold. No encouragements to Haines folks through Facebook helped at all. And so I rescued them and put them back with the rest of the pile in my box. And that’s where they have remained throughout the summer because I have been so busy with work that I didn’t get things ready until too late to be effective.

Groovy Cafe

Faust meets Glamour in the 21st century.

I tried to sell them with less than a month to go before leaving for Europe and eventually to Georgia for good. But I didn’t have time to launch a real sales campaign. They were then locked away again in Alaska. I probably won’t be able to sell them from Georgia because of the unreliability of the postal system there. Maybe they will emerge from the darkness again someday. But I certainly don’t know when.

Definition Puppets

Funky puppets redefining the meaning of ‘Fun’.

But what are these three little plays? They are works performed by my companies, Reckoning Motions and the Lilliputian Sideshow. They are rather curious puppet plays contrasting great works of literature (Pascal, Everyman and Faust) with postmodern insanities. Everypuppet is a variation on the medieval tale Everyman. 21st Century Faust finds the demon Mephistopheles granting Faust’s desire for all knowledge through the smartphone. The Definition of ‘Fun’ questions the meaning of the word ‘fun’ in the 21st Century. These darkly comic puppet miniatures each confront the present with aspects of the past. And so while they are funny, there is something else going on as well.

Possessions Explains Everything

An allegorical marionette named Possessions from Everypuppet.

Here’s a sample from 21st Century Faust:

Faust: O Mephistopheles give me what I have coming to me.

Mephistopheles: (Laughing) Oh yes I will. I’ll give you what you have coming to you. Are you ready?

Faust: (Nods) Yes.

Mephistopheles: Close your eyes….. No peeking… Now hold out your hand.

Mephistopheles reaches in to pull out a brand new smart phone.

Faust: I’ve never touched anything like this before.

Mephistopheles: Okay open ’em.

Faust: (Looking dismayed) What is this thing?

Mephistopheles: It is exactly what you asked for.

Faust: No, No, No, No. I asked for knowledge, and a way to communicate with everyone, to have learned conversations, to break down the language barriers, to explore all of the images on earth and to have the ability to meet beautiful women.

Mephistopheles: Voila! It’s all there. And it works through a strange force called electricity. And it also works through numbers.

 

Great Mind

Faust in the Library.

 

21st Century FAUST

21st Century Faust 2014.

So these little books have been buried for the foreseeable future. My life sometimes seems to be a tale of these sorts of things. Not that I feel sorry for myself. Au contraire. It’s just how things go. Maybe one day when they reemerge they will performed by others, if they still have a resonance.

Beauty & Faust

Faust meets a wise woman in the City.

Nevertheless if anyone wants to contribute to what will continue to be my needs while moving to Georgia here is the PayPal link: And this will work all over the world. CLICK THIS!

And thanks for following this strange journey which is my life!

Byrne Power

Haines Alaska

9/6/2018 (Edited 10/3/2018)


News From The North

Beauty & Glamgirl 2

The Beautiful Woman and GlamGirl95 from 21st Century Faust

Time for another update.

First the disappointing news. The grant I was hoping to receive, that I actually had an excellent chance of getting, did not materialize. And so while I am still planning to go to France for a three week residency in October as part of Gravity From Above, exactly how I am going to fund it, paying for the flight etc, is an unwritten book at this point. I might have to use a system like Indiegogo or GoFundMe, which will allow me to keep whatever I make, rather than threaten me with an all or nothing scheme. But we will see. At the moment a couple of thousand dollars would get me there and back and allow me to get a few more interviews. (Please note that PayPal button off to the upper right. Feel free to use it. Every donation, regardless of size, will help.) But one way or another I will get back to Europe this fall.

21st Century FAUST

But now some enjoyable news. In the midst of a personally trying late April and early May our Reckoning Motions puppet troupe was able to perform a play I recently wrote entitled 21st Century Faust. The play is based on the old European puppet classic Faust, and based more on Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus than on Goethe’s Faust. But, as the title betrays, this was obviously a reworking of the material into a contemporary setting. Except that that Faust himself is from the late Middle Ages and it is a comedy. Faust receives all of the knowledge and power in the world. But it comes in the form of a smartphone, which he can only use in the 21st Century. Mephistopheles transports him hence.

Faust And Vertigo

Faust enters the 21st Century and finds himself in a scene from Vertigo?

This was also an experiment for me in that it was my first official puppetry class of five students. We started with puppetry theory and history back at the beginning of February. And many classes in improvisation, acting, and puppet manipulation. Then we mastered the play, built the props and constructed the set in the basement of the Chilkat Center for the Arts and performed three well received shows. (We even had ourselves featured on the front of the local paper.) And so while waiting for the next step in our Gravity From Above project we have not been idle.

Chilkat Valley News Faust

Groovy Cafe

Faust, GlamGirl95 & Mephistopheles at late night café.

More news to come as we prepare to get back to Europe to try to finish this project!

Byrne Power

Haines, Alaska

5/18/2017

GlamGilr95

Faust thinks he’s entered Hell. It’s a Dance Club.

…………………………….

Oh! And allow me to share one of the scenes of 21st Century Faust with you…

(Anyone interested in performing this hour long play might wish to know I will be publishing a small book of this and two other similar puppet plays this summer.)

To keep up with our Reckoning Motions activities please click this link.

Great Mind

Faust discusses Gnosticism with the Great Mind.

…………………………….

The Great Mind: So I’m glad you got in touch with me.

Faust: I too am very pleased to meet you. I have so many questions.

The Great Mind: What do you wish to know? This should be Fun.

Faust: There’s that word again. Where do I begin? What is this thing you call an IQ test?

The Great Mind: Oh that. It’s a standardized test for determining intelligence.

Faust: What do you mean ‘standardized’?

The Great Mind: It’s a test anyone can take to determine their intelligence level.

Faust: And what is your intelligence level?

The Great Mind: 220. Genius.

Faust: So you had a demon attending your birth?

The Great Mind: What? I said Genius. I’m excellent at pattern recognition.

Faust: Pattern recognition? Hmm. I could see where that could be important in determining the nature of substances in alchemical treatises?

The Great Mind: Excuse me?

Faust: Maybe you can answer this question for me.

The Great Mind: I’ll give it a try. Shoot.

Faust: This has been weighing on me. Is Jesus the Christ a demiurgos, a demiurge? And in the 365 levels is he above or below Lucifer? Is he more of an archon connecting the sarkic level to the next? Or does the logos signify some other state? Did he come in the flesh?

The Great Mind: (Puzzled for a moment. Thinking. Then suddenly a key is found.) Did you say 365 levels?

Faust: Yes! 365.

The Great Mind: Wait. It’s coming to me.

Faust: Take your time. It seems that much depends on this.

The Great Mind: For a moment I thought this might be a philosophical question, which is not something I find to have much validity. Everything can be understood by numbers after all.

Faust: Numbers? Oh yes they do have a mystical property.

The Great Mind: But then I realized what you were asking about.

Faust: Yes. Yes.

The Great Mind: What level have you achieved?

Faust: I’m still quite connected to the earthly plane. Maybe the second or third level of the hylic order.

The Great Mind: How are you motor skills?

Faust: My what?

The Great Mind: Are you using Playstation or Nintendo?

Faust: I’m confused by this language.

The Great Mind: Xbox? Which console do you use?

Faust: Console? Well I seek a great beauty to console me.

The Great Mind: Is that part of the quest?

Faust: Yes I suppose it is? Along with finding the knowledge?

The Great Mind: What’s the name of the game? Maybe I’ve played it before.

Faust: It has no name. But I fear I am quickly becoming Lucifer’s pawn.

The Great Mind: Is this a Lovecraftian world? Is it an m-m-o-r-p-g?

Faust: I really do not understand your language? Mmorpg? (Pronounced like a word.)

The Great Mind: First person shooter?

Faust: I’m trying to understand the nature of the world.

The Great Mind: But what rules did you set up for your character?

Faust: The devil comes for my soul. I don’t mean soul I mean my infinity.

The Great Mind: Infinity? I like that concept. No souls just infinities.

Faust: Oh! I am in hell! Mephistopheles! Hear me again!

The Great Mind: Who is Mephistopheles? Your nemesis?

Mephistopheles: (Entering the room.) Yes, of course I am his nemesis. What do you wish now Faust?

Faust: This world is insane. Please take me somewhere else.

The Great Mind: Ooh I like that! ‘An insane world’! What a cool idea for a build?

Faust: Do you see?

Mephistopheles: It is a little silly isn’t it?

Faust: I thought I would meet intelligent people. This man gives me his IQ score. Just numbers. This isn’t intelligence! And then he talks endlessly about some sort of game. And he doesn’t understand philosophy, history, language.

The Great Mind: Hey I’m a genius! And I’ve got the test scores to prove it.

Faust: And what does that mean. Where is the attendant spirit?

Mephistopheles: I know. I know. They’ve forgotten where their words come from. Now they think that they are us. As if they had horns and tails. Alright. Alright.

The Great Mind: Hey!

(Poof! Everything changes. They are in the dark again.)

Beauty & Faust

Faust tries to talk with the Beautiful Woman.