High art meets low when the words of early 20th Century Poets are given voice in this cabaret of wooden puppets, rolling paper scrolls and bass drums. This solo performance includes a traditional hand puppet show performed with drum kit, a one-man band accompanies a rod marionette show with motorized story scroll and a shadow puppet show is performed on a series of hand cranked paper scrolls. The performances are based on the writings of Federico Garcia Lorca and Wallace Stevens as well as a traditional New Orleans blues song.
…Three solo performances by Blair Thomas
The performance of Hard Headed Heart includes:
The Puppet Show of Don Cristobal (by Federico Garcia Lorca)
Based on the rough folk humor of the traditional trickster Don Cristobal, this play is a bawdy telling of Cristobal’s wooing and marriage to the delectable Dona Rosita.
St. James Infirmary (Traditional)
Faced with the death of his lover, we watch a man dance away his grief.
The Blackbird (“Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens)
Doubt inexplicitly finds its way in-between the love of a man and a woman.
Thomas’s inventiveness and technical expertise are impressive, but it’s the remarkable expressiveness of his creations that has stayed with me. He doesn’t just animate wood, cloth, and paper forms–he somehow endows them with souls. - Chicago Reader
the technique and commitment on display is nothing short of staggering. - Chicago Tribune
A one man tour de force by an extraordinary designer and performer…A virtuoso and powerful performer. - UNIMA Citation Committee
Chicago Tribune, Critics’ Choice, July 2010
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Both The Puppet Show of Don Cristobal and The Blackbird received UNIMA (the International Puppetry Organization) Citation Awards for Excellence in the field of puppetry.
This collection of solo works has been performed under these different titles: Drum Sticks & Fiddle Sticks, The Poet, the Puppet & the Prisoner, Buster Keaton’s Stroll & Other Stories.
Puppets Take Strathmore, North Bethesda, MD August 2013
Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL February 2012
In the Heart of the Beast Theatre, Minneapolis, MN February 2012
St. Johns University, St.Johns, Minnesota February 2012
Puppets in the Green Mountains, Putney Vermont September 2010
Charlestown Theater Boston, MA September 2010
Victory Gardens Studio Theater, Chicago, Illinois July-August 2010
Victory Gardens Studio Theater, Chicago, Illinois October 2009
Noyes Cultural Center, Evanston, Illinois October 2009
Intuit Center for Outsider Art, Chicago October 2009
Links Hall, Chicago September 2009
Sherwood Conservatory of Music, Chicago September 2009
Southside Cultural Center, Chicago September 2009
Festival Internacional Titerias Mexico City, Mexico June 2007
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, Illinois June 2007
University of West Virginia Morganstown, West Virginia October 2005
Titirimundi Festival Segovia, Spain May 2004
Nahui Ollin Chicago, Illinois April 2004
Puppeteers of America National Festival Pheonix, Arizona July 2004
Actors Gymnasium Evanston, Illinois September-October 2003
Puppetry Show Place Boston, Massachuetts September 2003
Great Arizona Puppet Theater Pheonix, Arizona July 2002
Puppeteers of America Regional Festival Balitmore, Maryland July 2002
Peagsus Players Theater Chicago, Illinois October-November 2002
Blacksheep Puppet Festival Pittsburgh, Pennsylvannia September 2002
Center for Puppetry Arts. Atlanta, Georgia May 2002
University of Indiana, Bloomingfield, Indiana April 2002
Puppeteers of America National Festival, Orlando, Florida July 2001
Alfred University, Alfred, New York September 2000
Rhino Festival, Chicago, Illinois September 2000
Dank Puppet Theater Festival, Chicago, Illinois January 2000