Saturday, November 7, 2009

Peace to the Frogs!

This past month I was brought on to puppeteer for a webisode-media project designed and directed by Kris Fitzgerald and launched by Rain Frog Apparel, an environmentally-minded clothing company which uses alternative fibers and fabrics. I played Sammy, a na├»ve and happy-go-lucky frog-child who has trouble understating why he has to move out of his pond-home when a strange fungus begins to cover its surface. With the help of his human friend Maya, Sammy (and hopefully our young audiences!) comes to understand the environmental issues affecting his habitat more clearly—while keeping his youthful optimism things can be changed.This was a particularly rewarding project to work on not only because of the positive cause, but also for the fantastic group of individuals involved. Hopefully our newfound friendships will come together again for another episode!

Check out the youtube upload here:

Monday, October 26, 2009

May Peace Prevail on Earth

Two weeks ago I was very fortunate to be asked to build a giant peace dove for my old elementary school, Montessori Center, for their annual United Nations Day observance. The idea started with the Roots and Shoots Project--and initiative lead by Jane Goodall to try and promote the discussion of peace from an early age. The teachers banded together to find local donations for the supplies, and my contribution was the eventual fabrication of the dove and conducting a puppeteering workshop for the graduating sixth graders who would lead the dove through the procession. I was very impressed by their seriousness and dedication--and it is my hope that this little project got a least a few students, teachers, and local business owners thinking that perhaps peace may not be too much farther away than some old sheets and inner-tube ties--so long as we keep thinking about it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Czech It Out! : Lit Moon Festival 2009

This past week saw the open and close of the 11th Lit Moon International Theater Festival. After many years as an enthusiastic supporter, I had the great honor and pleasure to join the company and festival as assistant to the director and a supporting designer/fabricator for the company's new production: and offbeat and terrifically zany staging of Fielding's "Tragedies of Tragedies". This festival was a particularly valuable experience; reconnecting with long time mentors John Blondell and James Donlon was a truly meaningful gift, as well as forging new friendships with phenomenally talented Czech and American artists, such as international clown Stevo Capko, trailblazing artist and performer Howard Lotker, and collaborating with Jaco Connelly--a superb designer-of-all-trades and perhaps my long lost puppet brother. May we all meet again (sooner than later!), and in the meantime enjoy a look at some of my contributions to our all-muslin constructed show.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Twist on the Nile: Fierce Backbone's "Cleo's Girls"

Here are a few photos to commemorate the very successful Fierce Backbone workshop production of Jan O’Connor’s new play “Cleo’s Girls”, a reworking of Anthony and Cleopatra though the famed female pharaoh’s handmaidens. Equal parts comedic and probing, the cast gave excellent performances, and I was really happy with how my set designs integrated seamlessly with Brandon Baruch’s lighting and Lauren Tyler’s costumes. Filling up the Lex Theater for two weekends, this production had little to apologize for in terms of quality or attendance. Pretty good for a “workshop”!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Green!

October 3rd, 2009
“Ooooogy Green: And Other Fables” is coming back! Louise Hung and I premiered this show last spring at the Celebration Theater, and now it makes a stately reprise as the opening show for the 2009-2010 Saturday Scene children and family series at the Geffen Playhouse. Louise and I co-developed the show based on an existing text, and I designed the sets and puppets. (If you watch really close, you may also see me the behind the screen operating the shadow puppets as well.) Here is quick synopsis:
"Ooooogy Green" tells the story of a young, bug-obsessed misfit and his desire to fit it. Through classic Aesop’s fables and a new fable of his own creation, our misfit and his insectoid alter-ego Ooooogy Green learn to value diversity and embrace their own uniqueness. The second collaboration between Louise Hung and Erik Finck,” Ooooogy Green” employs highly physical approaches to acting and character, with whimsical shadow and puppet accents to shape the dramatic world. Brian Pugach adds exciting, original music and songs, and the team is completed by the talents of Jennifer Grace, Allie Roy, Joy Nash, Melanie Portney, and Michael Mullen. Appropriate for the whole family, “Ooooogy Green” is the latest effort by Finck and Hung to produce creative and stimulating approaches to children’s theater which challenge traditional notions of the genre.

(Check out more images at:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Back from Bulgaria: Project L.E.M.

This past July I was honored to work with NY based puppeteers Tom Lee and Matt Acheson, LA based video artist Jeff Burke and composer Jonathan Snipes, and writer/director Jared Stein on a new puppet project in development based on the writings of Stanislaw Lem. After two weeks of morning to evening work in an almost unlit space behind the main stage of the Rhodopi Dramatichen Theater in Smolyan, Bulgaria, what came out was a performance that perhaps even the often cynically minded Lem himself would have been proud of.