Puppet Lab creates space for emerging puppet and mask theater artists to advance their artistic development – to test and create new works within a supportive and challenging workshop environment.

These four shows travel through the shifting shadows of family memory, the hypocrisy of the American dream, an expansive understanding of home, and the complexity of balancing family obligations while honoring the creative impulse.

Devotion: The Early Years of Rachel Carson by Tara Fahey 

Tara Fahey is an artist, teacher, and performer. Growing throughout the past twelve years with Barebones Productions, as a section designer of lantern and dimensional puppets and strengthened through camaraderie and collective work with Chicks on Sticks, a Mpls.based women’s stilt troupe, there is a spark to explore through independent work.

Devotion is an immersive puppet epic bringing us into Rachel Carson's early life. Experience the outpouring of Rachel’s devotion to the ocean, witness the struggles and successes that defined her life, and be transformed by the impact of her work, still reverberating in our world today.

What shapes a person to be so lovingly courageous, stepping forward into the fire of ridicule and criticism to speak their truth, sending ripples out into the universe?  How does dedication to care-taking children and elders sculpt a person, as a piece of driftwood, bringing out such depth of understanding? What about the natural world so captivated Rachel Carson that poetry poured forth from her stopping and absorbing the reader as the ocean itself? 

 Performed March 15-17th, 2019

A by Akiko

Akiko is a multidisciplinary artist: dancer, poet, collage artist, curator, and activist whose work directly reflects her experience as an immigrant woman of color, with an emphasis on community engagement and social justice. With a passion for art rooted in community, she is involved yearly in the creation of Barebones Halloween Extravaganza, MayDay Parade, and Northern Spark.

A for Akiko, Asian, Alien, Atomic bombs, American Dream, Away from home, At home. Weaving together shadow puppet, progressive collage, poetry, and dance, A explores white supremacy and white fear from an immigrant point of view.

"This show is about my life in America as an immigrant. My inspiration came from music video. This Is America by Hiro Murai, and the story by Sue Goodstar at the Sculpture Garden while we sat in protest for the scaffold. 

I dedicate this show to my father who passed away during the production. Thank you for sending me to America. You struggled so much while you were alive. I hope you get to finally rest in peace."

Content warning: Strong language and violence

 Performed March 15-17th, 2019

Not here, Not there: An Adoptee's Journey to Home by Kallie Melvin

Kallie Melvin is an emerging puppeteer and theater maker. She was adopted from Kolkata, India and grew up in the Twin Cities.

What is “Home“? Using a combination of original music, paper shadow puppets, photography, and live action performance, Not here, Not there follows the journey of an international adoptee. Through an exploration of grief and loss, family, memories, and more, a new definition of home emerges through a world of shadows.

"For someone like me, an international transracial adoptee, even a question like “where are you from?” sends me down a complicated and emotional maze. And when I flip to HOME in the dictionary, only a piece of the puzzle is there. This show comes out of my yearning for a more expansive and representative definition of HOME in my world. You are invited in to witness my journey of self discovery in search of the things, moments, memories, and feelings that are the puzzle pieces that build my world, my definition of HOME. Like most puzzles, things don’t always fit together at first, but each piece belongs somewhere, and plays a part in answering the question “Where are you from?” as I create my own unique definition of HOME."

Performed March 22-24th, 2019

The Alluvial by Andrew Young

Andrew Young is a Taiwanese-Indonesian-American visual and performance artist interested in the natural world, our inner lives, ancestry, and the ways we connect with each other. An emerging puppeteer, Andrew is excited to continue to explore the possibilities of shadow puppets, as well as masks, giant puppets, and ways different forms of puppetry can be combined.

Growing up as a minority there are a lot of things you keep to yourself; questions only looked at within the shadows of yourself. Through shadow puppetry, live performance, storytelling, and sound, The Alluvial explores questions of place, belonging, and the shifting nature of memory --  a meditation on family, migration, and identity, to bring the things passed down to us into the light.

"Take a deep breath. I want to tell you a story. It’s one that isn’t always easy, or happy, but it’s one that means a lot to me. I come from a family of immigrants, of people searching for something more. That drive has persisted in me. All of my life I’ve been one to ask questions, of myself, of the world, trying to make sense of this often confusing world, and where I fit within it. With that comes the question of identity, and how that relates to place, to time, and the people around us.  We create our identities from so many different streams, filling our cups from them as we travel. In this show I want to trace the streams I’ve drank from their source."

Content warning: Gun violence, depression, suicidal ideation

Performed March 22-24th, 2019

Generously funded by the

Jerome Fdn Standard