I went to visit Steve Coleman on Saturday to talk about our puppet show. This is his studio, at night, above a theater. It is pure magic, full of rich colors and the strange faces of puppets, clocks, painted cupolas and Venetian balconies, mice in vests reading in pagodas, stray teacups, saws, brushes, nasturtiums or peonies in vases, a metal saucepan with chai tea bags sticking out, books and books on renaissance art, fairytales, romantic poetry, records. At the moment, this puppet show is deep in the rich mud of both of our minds, about to spring forth from all the beauty of just-managed chaos. I wish the studio in my mind looked exactly like this:
This is the flavor of the story we are creating-- me in words, Steve in puppets and sets. Who knows what it will look like in the end? Something that takes you beyond the veil of the seen and known, into the strange and dark, the whimsical and the earthen, a world where grizzly bears, trolls and riverbeds speak, yearn and suffer, a world where the winds walk like men with harmonicas and the forgotten deities, spirits, imps, of immigrants live in the places between: cracks in stone, blustery islands, patches of dandelion and thistle.
Below are two pages of the puppet show from my notebook, just a little taste. Everything starts on paper, with a good, trusted, smooth pen, much of the time on the Victorian writing box my Aunt gave me for my birthday a few years ago, tilted up just enough so you don't have to hunch over your words, with space inside for paper, nibs, ribbons, envelopes, whatever you want to hide in it.