Puppetry Design and Fabrication for This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing by Finegan Kruckemeyer, directed by Pascale Florestal for Emerson Stage at Emerson College.
Playwright: Finegan Kruckemeyer
Director: Pascale Florestal
Scenic Designer: Matt Baynes
Costume Designer: Dom Letterii
Props Design: Ryan Bates
Lighting Design: Amanda Ryan
Sound Design: Elizabeth Cahill
Open to the public on Saturday, October 9 and Saturday, October 16.
This Girl Laughs is an extremely charming fable that starts off with “three girls who were sisters, who were triplets, found themselves alone in a wood”, abandoned there by their woodcutter father at their stepmother’s behest.
It’s written for young audiences, but like much of the best theater for kids, it’s extremely moving for adult audiences as well—I always cry at the end, a good, satisfied cry.
I designed the puppetry for the show, built the puppets with the help of student artisans, and directed the student performers for the puppetry sequences.
I wanted to create beautiful puppetry that would make the audience laugh and say “ooh!”, but I also wanted to expose the student performers and fabricators to a range of puppetry performance styles and materials. So, we used:
- overhead projector shadow puppetry, using two overlapping projectors to create layered images
- handheld shadow puppetry with visible operators, creating images with actors and puppets combined
- one (unexpected!) hand puppet—baby Lionel, who was not part of the original design concept for the show, but who quickly became a company favorite!
I’m so proud of the students I’ve worked with on this project—so talented, so professional, and so sweet!
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS PLAY:
I especially love how this play celebrates that people can be more than one thing, and that more than one thing can be good: of the three sisters, Albienne and Beatrix go adventuring—fighting Vikings, journeying in a submarine, becoming famous, and all that—but the third sister, Carmen, “does nothing”, staying put right there in the wood where the sisters were left. At first Carmen doesn’t know what to do, but she stays true to her own inner guide and she too learns about the world and herself and builds a beautiful life while her sisters circumnavigate the globe.
And so, we get to see three heroines, with three different personalities and approaches to life, who all manage to live well, grow as people, and journey separately before they reunite at the end of the play.