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Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra

LSCO Rehearsal

Kurt and Kathy Rehearsing

In June 1999, we had the opportunity to perform as guest artists with the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra in Duluth, Minnesota.  We remounted our interpretation of Prokofiev's Summer Day, which was originally created for performances with the Minneapolis Chamber Symphony.  Summer Day consists of eight contrasting movements with a single marionette performing to each movement.

The artistic director of the LSCO, Warren Friesen, wanted to add a second musical selection with a dramatic line to contrast the Prokofiev piece.  We eventually agreed upon Brook Green Suite by Gustav Holst.  Although Brook Green Suite  does not have a storyline associated with it, it is a colorful piece in three movements that seemed to lend itself to interpretation as a drama in three acts.

The plan was to work without narration or dialogue, so the story line we created would need to be carried by the music and the movement of the marionettes.  The story line we created involved a mystical, nature loving clown we called Twig and a rather corporate, nature consuming monster, Oscar.

 

Twig the Clown

Twig the Clown

Angry Oscar

Oscar in Two of his Moods

Startled Oscar

The conflict for our story was the theft of the Twig's nose by Oscar and Twig's attempts, first to deal with the loss and eventually to retrieve the nose with the help of a butterfly.

 

Noseless Twig

Noseless Twig

Oscar with the Stolen Nose

Oscar with the Stolen Nose

Twig and Oscar are a study in contrasts.  Twig is a very light and airy character, while Oscar is extremely earthbound.  Oscar's moving eyebrows allowed for easy change of expression, while Twig was sculpted very carefully so a change of expression was achieved by the tilt of his head.  Twig was also sculpted so there was change of expression as his nose was removed and replaced.

This was Kathy's first major role performing and she did a wonderful job bringing Oscar to life.  The concert itself was quite amazing.  We were the final half hour of a two hour concert.  Although there were more children in the audience than at your usual chamber music concert, the audience was largely adults and they were completely in tune with the puppets.  As a performer, you can feel when an audience is following every movement and this was one of those occasions.

At the close of the concert, we received a standing ovation and flowers from the orchestra.  As this was Kathy's first performance, it looked like she might be expecting this on a regular basis.  Our next performance, however, was a library show that had seven people in attendance, and so it goes in the glamorous world of puppetry.


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