Nov 3, 2023
Nov 11, 2023

Jump Start: A Presentation of Works in Progress

Charlotte Lily Gaspard/Midnight Radio Show
Tristan Allen
Evolve Puppets (Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil)
Marcella Murray
a black arrow pointing downward
November 3 – 5

Puppet artists get a chance to showcase their works in progress in the La MaMa Puppet Series. Featuring work from Charlotte Lily Gaspard.

Mia M.I.A. (Work-in-Progress)
A new shadow puppet musical for adults
Written & Directed by Charlotte Lily Gaspard
A Midnight Radio Show production

Charlotte Lily Gaspard invites you into a fantastical galaxy of shadow puppets, whimsy, and dreams, in her upcoming project, Mia M.I.A.: an urban fairytale for adults.The play centers around an ordinary couple as they navigate lives on earth. Yet, as our story unfolds, they are drawn into an enchanted realm of silhouettes, puppets, and dance, much like Alice through the looking glass. Mia M.I.A. comes from the creators of The Enchanted Revolution, a magical lo-fi space pop opera, and artists from Gaspard’s collective, Midnight Radio Show.

Cast: Emma Buford, Malik Work, Jessie Davis, Shabbi Sharifi, Gaby Febland, Charlotte Lily Gaspard
Music: Malik Work, Jessie Davis, Doc Frost, Rebecca KelleyG

Photos by Steven Pisano

November 9 – 11

Four artists will share a three-day billing, including works from Tristan Allen, Evolve Puppets (Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil), and Marcella Murray.

Osni the Flare (Work-in-Progress)
Tristan Allen - Creator, Composer, Puppeteer, Builder
Jim Freeman - Technical Director, Builder
Lauder Weldon - Loon Tamer, Builder
Miryam Moutillet - Costuming

Osni the Flare is a symphonic puppet ballet set to a full, original score. Tristan Allen employs the narrative power of instrumental music and puppetry to create an imaginary world. Tristan’s innovative rod puppetry, detailed sound design, and experimental mode of storytelling creates rich works of wordless fantasy. Through exuberant tenacity, puppets will gracefully choreograph a luminous blaze, birthing the primal origins of fire.

Photo by Jose Miranda
Photo by Richard Termine

They Were Called Trees (Work-in-Progress)
Written, Directed and Puppetry Designed by Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil (Evolve Puppets)
Original Music by Joel Phillip Friedman
Set Design by Tom Lee

Movement Choreography by Lake Simons
Costume Design by Carla Gant
Special Effects by Jim Freeman
Cast: Max Gayford, Kevin P. Hale, AnJu Hyppolite, Kiana Lum, Kervin Peralta, and Jonelle Robinson (on video)

It is the last days of humanity on Earth, after trees and animals are gone and the air is thin. A “family” lives in a cavern made from plastic bottles, worshipping the sputtering machine that gives them oxygen. Today, they perform a religious ceremony through puppetry — their story of how the world got this way — for the benefit of their young child, who is full of questions.  Writer/director/puppetry designers Tanya Khordoc & Barry Weil use plastic refuse to create this world, alongside visual and spoken “refuse” — words and images that are leftover scraps of our destroyed civilization. Objects, artifacts, and language take on new meanings in this strange, dying world.

Other Atlantas: What Had Happened (Work-in-Progress)
Written, designed, and created by Marcella Murray

Other Atlantas will eventually be a celebration of the marginalized who remain in spaces left behind, swallowed up, disappeared, decimated, used up, and ignored for the sake of some other entity’s idea of progress. In this residency, Marcella will develop the opening of this series which explores the process of displacement and resettlement using shadow puppetry, projection mapping, LEDs, and two-way mirrors. This piece asks "How DID we make it over?" While Marcella is pretty sure she doesn't know, she has an inkling towards the porousness of time, the inevitability of light, and celebration in all states of emotion aka The Kickback.

“Part celestial creature, part sophisticated human” is how Charlotte Lily Gaspard has been described by Faerie Magazine when contemplating the ethereal artist and her work in one of their features. Shadow puppet artist, educator, and children’s entertainer, Charlotte’s mission is to activate imaginations and celebrate playfulness wherever she goes. A “multi-faceted enchantress...the fanciful mastermind behind Midnight Radio Show” (Broadway World), Charlotte is the founder and artistic director of Midnight Radio Show, a shadow puppet sci-fi fairytale theater company based in Brooklyn, NY. She designs puppets for theater and film, including A Snowy Day & Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats.

Tristan Allen is a composer and puppeteer who’s work employs the narrative power of instrumental music and puppetry to create rich works of wordless fantasy.

EVOLVE PUPPETS (TANYA KHORDOC & BARRY WEIL) have been creating innovative puppet theatre in NYC for more than two decades. In 2019, they presented their show HOME (a Jim Henson Foundation Grant recipient) at the Tank NYC. Recently, they created a series of puppet films, including LIGHT AS PAPER (for the Object Movement Festival) and ONCE UPON A PLASTIC FOREST (for La MaMa Kids Online). Evolve created the world premiere production of former Czech President Vàclav Havel’s play MOTORMORPHOSIS for UTC61’s Havel Festival. They’ve created puppets for Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble’s PRINCESS MALEINE at La MaMa; crafted live-video-projected models for UTC61’s adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s CAT’S CRADLE; and designed the puppetry for Theater East’s DEVIL AND THE DEEP, a musical co-written by Graham Russell of Air Supply. Evolve has also performed many original works (written, designed and directed by Tanya & Barry) at venues that include La MaMa, HERE Arts Center, St. Ann’s Warehouse, The Brick, Dixon Place, and two Puppeteers of America National Festivals. They are currently developing their fourth full-length puppet play, THEY WERE CALLED TREES.

Marcella Murray is a New York-based theater artist from Augusta, Georgia. She is a playwright, performer, collaborator, and puppeteer. Murray’s work is heavily inspired by the observed ways in which people tend to segregate and reconnect. Her work tends to focus on themes of identity within a community and (hopefully) forward momentum in the face of trauma. Performances include Sonntags wird gelogen Or We Only Lie on Sundays written and directed by Leonie Bell at The Brick; The Slow Room, a piece directed by Annie Dorsen at Performance Space New York; a workshop of Ocean Filibuster which was co-created by the team Pearl D’Amour (Lisa D’Amour and Katie Pearl) with composer Sxip Shirey at Abrons Arts Center; I Don’t Want to Interrupt You Guys which was created in collaboration with Leonie Bell and Hyung Seok Jeon during RAP at Mabou Mines; New Mony created by Maria Camia at Dixon Place; and Shoot Don’t Talk at St. Ann’s Warehouse/Puppet Lab created by Andrew Murdock. Along with David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group, she recently co-created Distances Smaller Than This Are Not Confirmed (Obie Special Citation for Creation and Performance) which opened at Abrons Arts Center, co-produced by Chocolate Factory, in January of 2020. She is also one of four curators of the Object Movement Festival at Center West Park.

Jump Start is made possible by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, the Howard Gilman Foundation, The Jim Henson Foundation, Puppet Slam Network, the Mellon Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation. Additional support from Cheryl Henson is gratefully acknowledged.

La MaMa Puppet Festival


The La MaMa Puppet Festival showcases new contemporary puppet theatre by artists from around the world. Curated by Denise Greber, focusing on diversifying the voices, stories, and perspectives shared onstage, with the goal of uplifting marginalized identities within the puppet community.

Special Event