Like they do most grown-ass men, puppets frighten me. This is not a new thing, as I was raised in a house that hosted an ancient wooden Howdy Doody doll as well as some spooky Mexican marionettes whose vacant black eyes offered up Cormac McCarthy-esque visages that I immediately recognized as the faces of hopelessness upon my first reading of his book Blood Meridian. Of course, the grotesque is a good way to talk about things that we don’t usually talk about: like death.
In Eamon Espey’s recently released graphic novel, Songs of the Abyss, the author meditates on the spiritual and the mythical. Espey has collaborated with professional puppeteer Lisa Krause to make a puppet show based on a chapter from the book called “Ishi’s Brain.” According to Krause’s blog the show “incorporates shadow puppets, a marionette, masks and liberal use of painted cardboard.” The show is based on the life of Ishi, the last member of the Yahi tribe in California, who was considered by many to be the “last wild Indian” in the U.S.
Along with the aforementioned puppet show, Lost Dog Productions is staging a 20-minute musical play called The Musical Stylings of Sigmund und Amalia Freud: Mother und Son. The play follows imagined troubadours Sigmund and Amalia Freud as the duo travels and performs with guitar and fiddle, respectively. Lost Dog regular Craig Domes is joined by Ten Penny Jenny of Burlesco and Cigarette Girls Burlesque in this piece. FYI for you parents, the graphic novel material and the Freud show have been deemed inappropriate for most children.