June 15-24, 2017
Created and directed by Steve Ackerman
Co-directed by Lizz Windnagel
Music by Drew Kellum
Featuring Maren Ward, Lizz Windnagel, Shelby Richardson, Peter Rusk, Akiko Ostlund, and Rick Miller
A propane-fueled, muscle-bound, rough and tumble, torn shirt, bloody bicep, car chasing, bar fight, coming down on that bottom rung of a helicopter, flick a lit cigarette into a pool of gasoline so that as you’re walking away in slow motion that thing that everyone in the audience wants to blow up actually blows up behind you, all ending with a cool contextually relevant tagline, homage to 1980s action movie, action sequence. But with puppets.
In other words, Action Sequence builds on the excellent puppetry and innovative original productions that In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre is known for, while being a departure in terms of content. Puppets are the perfect form for exploring the larger-than-life, over-the-top aesthetics of action movies. “I am not so much interested in the actual violence of the action movies, but more the outrageous, extreme lengths that filmmakers take to amaze people,” says Steve Ackerman. “I've always been more interested in practical effects, rather than digital,” he continues. “How do you make a puppet explosion, a cardboard explosion? How do you choreograph a puppet car chase, puppets riding on the roof of the car, jumping from vehicle to vehicle, while it does that thing where it rides on only two wheels?"
The original score by Drew Kellum is performed live by a small orchestra. Ackerman pulls the entire theatre space into an intricately choreographed continuous scene, brought to life by Maren Ward, Lizz Windnagel, Shelby Richardson, Peter Rusk, Akiko Ostlund, and Rick Miller, who push themselves to the limits of exhaustion. Action Sequence seamlessly melds pop culture and critical commentary, tied together with sidesplitting humor.
Trailer by Madi Ballis
Photos by Bruce Silcox