Monday, January 10, 2011

New Year's Day with Irreverent Muppets!

Time rolls on and so does my art - Happy New Year!

Part of my new year celebrations included seeing a limited engagement show at the Barclay Theater on the UC Irvine campus. The show was "Henson's Alternative - Unstuffed and Unstrung."

"What's that?" - you say. Well, basically it is a live-on-stage Muppets show, done improv style. The Muppeteers "animate their characters from below" (that sounds funny to me) while improvising a scene that has been suggested by the audience. Video-capture records the "'top half of the action" (again, sounds funny) and plays it back real-time on large suspended monitors, also on the stage towards the back. So the effect is two shows in one. It was witty and well done, replete with foul language and adult situations; very entertaining!

I was fortunate to be seated far off center with respect to the stage, in the second row - just perfect for drawing! Close enough to see the performer's expressions and their staging, and seated to the side which made for a great perspective view.

The image I've posted here is composed of three parts: [1] far upper left shows the stage director and several audience members (the stage director interacted with the audience to select and set the scene, and change the scene in-progress for comedic effect), [2] lower left - a closeup of one of the Muppet characters, and [3] entire right half - shows the performers and Muppets, in action together (note that the performers are looking downward in order to see their monitors to make sure their characters and filling the video-recorded scene properly).

I enjoyed this experience a lot. It was very satisfying to accomplish my own art while being audience to the art of others.  Important take-away for me from this experience - Drawing did not distract me from enjoying the show (although I thought it might)! - that's a great lesson to have learned in itself! Score!

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