Marla Botterill and Conan Masterson’s Residency: Week 4 Report

GregorOur last week began with a trip to Harrison’s Cave. We elected to do the walking tour, the guide was patient with us and gave us ample time to shoot videos of our “little dolls”.  We thought the caves were spectacular and well worth the visit.  The peculiar forms, continual dripping sounds, humidity and darkness combine to create a mysterious, prehistoric ambiance.  After emerging from the depths of the caves, the fresh air above was welcomed in our lungs.

We kept busy with videos the last week.  Our puppets went on many excursions where we improvised performances, intuitively working with the surroundings.  We reviewed all of our footage and began the editing process.  This was the most tedious part, but we found it rewarding and exciting to see the puppets come to life through movement.  We did not find all footage successful, but we agreed that many moments intrigued us and made us laugh such as the unexpected moments captured on camera.  A lot of these snippets were edited into our short video “sketches” that we presented publicly on our final night.

On May 30th along with Matthew Kupakwashe Murrell we presented what we worked on during our residency at Fresh Milk.  We enjoyed seeing excerpts from Matthew’s play being performed by the actors.  We hung our 10 completed puppets in our former studio space and projected 11 short videos.  It was a crucial time for us to get some feedback on the work, as we must now digest and process what we’ve accomplished and determine a path for continued development.  We were happy with the turnout and pleased to see many familiar faces and the feedback provided raised interesting questions and things for us to consider going forward, particularly in regards to the videos and the relationship between the puppets and their environment.

Our puppets boarded the plane with us and successfully made the journey north to Canada.  They have already complained about the cooler temperatures and lack of ocean breeze – some even miss the singing frogs.  We plan on taking the puppets out so that they may explore their new surroundings, some may need adjustments and we will likely have to make them some new friends to ease in this transition.  We foresee some sweaters and toques after the summer ends. FM provided an excellent and encouraging platform for us to freely experiment with this new body of work and new partnership.

We are both thrilled with our experiences at FM.  So many people welcomed us into their studios and homes, we passed many evenings in the company of new friends.  We want to thank everyone who contributed to making our residency rousing and fulfilling, in particular: Annalee, Joscelyn, Ewan and the Davis’.  A special shout-out as well to Rico & Mikka for their determined and steadfast companionship and protection.

We soaked up every last minute of our trip to Barbados; we are changed from our time at Fresh Milk and for us it was the first step in a collaboration we expect will continue in London, Ontario as we are both delighted and motivated by our production at Fresh Milk.

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