Saturday, December 20, 2014

Spaghetti Dinner December 30th

together with
GOH Productions and

Year-End Concert and Spaghetti Dinner                                    General Admission:  $25
Tuesday, December 30, 2014, 7:30PM                                         Tickets:
Judson Memorial Church                                                                                          or 800-838-3006                 
55 Washington Square South, NYC
Advance ticket purchase will guarantee a seat.
Limited tickets available at the door.  No one turned away for lack of funds.

Witness the Adrienne Cooper Dreaming In Yiddish Award Ceremony honoring author, playwright and linguist Michael Wex.
Hear the rock stars of New Yiddish music.*
Experience the second work-in-progress showing of Great Small Works' new show:
                  Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls.
See projections created by Tine Kindermann, Stephen Kaplin and Jenny Romaine.
Remember Forgetting Finding, stilt dance by Alicia Gerstein and Michaela Lind.
Musical slide lecture by Eric Drooker about how the changing urban landscape has shaped his
                  political vision.

Bring your appetites and dancing shoes!

 *Featured Singers                                                                                        
Sarah Gordon                                     
Eleanor Reissa                                   
Daniel Kahn                                    
Judith Berkson                                  
Psoy Korolenko                                    
Jackie Mendelson                                           
Fredda Mendelson                   
Peter Sokolow                                    
*Band Members 
Frank London
Michael Winograd
Pam Fleming
Matt Darriau
Jessie Lurie
Patrick Farrell
Kenneth Bentley
Aaron Alexander
Lauren Brody
Marilyn Lerner                 

Great Small Works thanks the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Jim Henson Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, the Scherman Foundation, Mental Insight Foundation, Doctorow Foundation, and the Puppet Slam Network for their generous support.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Work-in-Progress Performance of New Great Small Works Show

A work-in-progress performance of Great Small Works' newest project!

YIVO Institute
15 West 16th Street, NYC

Admission:  General $15/YIVO Members $12

Box Office:  (212) 868-4444  

An Artist and Scholar Collaboration
Deep in the YIVO archives are the original puppets used by Modicut, Yosl Cutler and Zuni Maud's Yiddish puppet theater troupe.  The first of its kind in the United States, Modicut was known for satirical with that spanned the breadth of Jewish life.  GREAT SMALL WORKS, together with DR. EDWARD PORTNOY, bring the pair to life--and to a new audience--by portraying the rich Yiddish cultural context from which Modicut sprung, and re-staging original Modicut scripts. 

The program will consist of scenes from Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls, talks by Dr. Portnoy and Great Small Works company members John Bell and Jenny Romaine, a newly-unearthed song written by Yosl Cutler, and a Toy Theater adaptation of a Yiddish story for the edification of 1930's youth titled "Santa Klos Hot Gekhalisht" ("The Day Santa Klaus Fainted").




Monday, November 24, 2014

Day-Long Event to Celebrate Release of "Puppetry and Material Performance"

Puppetry and Material Performance
A Day-Long Book Celebration with Screenings, a Performance, and Discussions

Free + Open to the Public
Monday, December 1 | 10:00am - 5:00pm Screenings + 6:30pm Performance and Conversation

At the Segal Theatre, The Graduate Center CUNY

The Segal Center is pleased to celebrate the publication of The Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance (Routledge, 2014), edited by Dassia N. Posner, Claudia Orenstein, and John Bell, with a full day of curated screenings followed by excerpted performances and a panel discussion featuring John Bell (Director of the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at the University of Connecticut) and Claudia Orenstein (Associate Professor at Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY).

Join us for screenings highlighting the depth and breadth of contemporary puppetry in the US and abroad.

Screenings curated by Tim Cusack (Artistic Director, Theatre Askew) will be shown from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 2:00pm to 5:00pm
Check our website for updated screening schedules
Screenings will include:

Compagnie Philippe Genty, France (Excerpts)
Domestic Resurrection Circus 1985 | Bread and Puppet, Vermont
Hermann | Theater Im Wind, Germany (Enno and Anne Podehl)
Hunchback | Redmoon Theatre, Chicago
Karagöz performance, Turkey
Magic in Our Hands | Documentary on Indian Puppetry (Excerpts)
Petrushka and Vertep | The Vagrant Booth (Alexander Gref and Larissa Sokolova), Russia
Terror as Usual | Great Small Works, New York
Ubu and the Truth Commission | Handspring Puppet Company, South Africa
Un Avventura d¹Orlando Furioso | Manteo Sicilian Marionettes, New York
The Wonder of Diamond | Eko Nugroho (with Matthew Cohen), Indonesia

and others

6:30pm short performance of Living Newspaper: Sidewalk Ballet by John Bell and Trudi Cohen of Great Small Works, selected readings from the book, and a discussion moderated by Claudia Orenstein.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Spaghetti Dinner November 4th

Tuesday, November 4th, 7:30PM

SD NOV2014
Teatro SEA
107 Suffolk Street, NYC
Admission: $15 sliding scale (no one turned away)
Info: 718-840-2823

Distract your mind from election returns, with performers:

Warren Lehrer
A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley.
Warren Lehrer presents highlights from his award-winning "illuminated novel" containing 101 books within it.

Great Small Works
Living Newspaper, #2: Sidewalk Ballet
A new chapter in the Toy Theater series by John Bell and Trudi Cohen
See Moses!  See God!  See Jane Jacobs!
Let’s talk about public space as holy ground.

Deborah Kaufmann
Buried Alive! A Matchbook Theater
A frightfully funny exploration of our fear of being buried alive and of the curious phenomenon of 19th Century “waiting mortuaries.” Based on historical and medical facts and constructed entirely in and of matchboxes, full of dreadful discoveries, with a merry eccentric matron as your guide.

Shark Shark
Music for the ears and feet.
Kevin Connell (banjo), Theo Hilton (guitar), Sherelle Miller (cello), Maggie Schreiner (drums) and Hannah Temple (trombone)

And special added surprise:
Chinese Theatre Works
Handpuppet moment!

Great Small Works Spaghetti Dinners are supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature.

DCA logo                                                           NYSCA logo

With thanks to the Puppet Slam Network for its support.

Monday, September 8, 2014


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Background info for Encuentro workshop participants


We will create together a processional performance titled "Hemispheric Casserole."
We want to reflect on the popular anti-austerity push-backs we are seeing throughout the hemisphere. 
In our retelling of the story, the audience is led through a hemispheric transmigration of a melody, the melody in our case being the music of the “casserole,” the public sonic performance of banging on pots and pans.

The narrative of the piece was adapted from a story by I.L. Peretz, called The Transmigration of a Melody. The full text of this story, in Yiddish and English, can be found here: pages 234-265


As a musical thread, we will use an Uruguayan murga by Araca la Cana, called "Mientras Escriba y Cante."  A recording of this song can be found here: 

Here is some background information about murgas, compiled by Jenny Romaine:
Murga is a form of popular musical theater performed in Uruguay and Argentina during the carnival season. Murga groups operate in the Montevideo and Buenos Aires carnival. Though to a lesser extent than in Montevideo, the Argentine murga is more centered on dancing and less on vocals than the Uruguayan one.  Uruguayan murga has a counterpart in Cadiz, Spain, from which it is derived: the chirigota.  Over time, the two have diverged into distinct forms.

The murga is performed by a group of maximum of 17 people, usually men, in the months prior to Carnival, which takes place from late January to early March in Uruguay. Each group will prepare a musical play consisting of a suite of songs and recitative lasting around 45 minutes. This suite will be performed on popular stages in the various neighborhoods known as toblados throughout the carnival period.  Groups also vie against each other in an official competition. 

Lyrical content is based on a particular theme chosen by the group which serves to provide commentary on events in Uruguay and elsewhere over the proceeding year.  Consequently, murga lends itself well to being used as a form of popular resistance.  For example, during the dictatorship in Uruguay during the 1970s, groups like Araca la Cana became known for their left-wing tendencies, subversive commentary and oppositional stance. 

A traditional murga group is composed of a chorus and three percussionists. This is the type of murga performed on stages; the singers perform in polyphony, using up to 5 vocal parts.  Vocal production tends to be nasal and loud with little variation in volume.  The percussion instruments derived from European military bands are bombo, redolante, and platillos.  Two most important pieces of the performance are the opening song (the saludo) and the exit song. 

These get played on the radio during the carnival period; some of them, such as the Saludo Araca la Cana 1937 are cherished by Uruguyans as cultural icons…

Murgistas dress in elaborate colorful jester-like costumes.  Staging is sparce, with minimal use of props.  Singers tend to be foregrounded, with percussionists at the back or off to the side of the stage.  Musical styles and rhythmic structures have been incorporated into Uruguayan popular music. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Great Small Works at the Hemispheric Encuentro, Montreal June 21-28

Great Small Works will be conducting a workshop as part of the Hemispheric Encuentro happening at Concordia University in Montreal at the end of June.  We are looking for people who would like to participate in our June 27th procession.  Here's the info.  If you are in Montreal, please join us!

The Hemispheric EncUentro is coming to town
June 20-27(Montreal)
Want to join in some
radical beautiful processional theater
to celebrate?


HELLO!  Great Small Works, a visual theater collective (with branches in New York City, Montreal and Cambridge), calling:
GSW:  Can we join forces at the 2014 Encuentro in Montreal? 
YOU (Marvelous Montreal):  What is this all about?
GSW:  Great Small Works and Alejandro Benítez from Facto Teatro in Mexico City will be hosting a processional theater workshop daily from 9-11 am at the Encuentro June 22-27.  We are thrilled to be part of the amazing brain trust gathering for this convocation.  
Marvelous Montreal:  Where do we fit in?
GSW:  The processional theater workshop will build towards a spectacular performance in public space with the accompaniment of a brass band. In 5 sessions -- we’ll learn about parade history, politics and aesthetics, read through a performance script and amend it with your stories, add translations, choose performance locations, learn songs, work with puppets, make scenic elements, dress up, and rehearse in a calm ecstatic fashion. On day 6 (June 27) we will perform our show in public space with accompaniment by Montreal’s Chaotic Insurrection Ensemble and friends.
We are dearly hoping to collaborate in interesting ways.

The “Hemispheric Casserole” 
is centered on a giant scroll map of the American continent.


 We want to reflect on the popular anti-austerity push-backs we are seeing in NYC, Mexico and Montreal. The narrative of the piece was adapted from a story by I.L. Peretz, called
The Transmigration of a Melody.   

In our retelling of the story, the audience is led through a hemispheric transmigration of a melody, the melody in our case being the music of the “casserole,” the public sonic performance of banging on pots and pans.  Learn an Uruguayan murga by Araca La Cana, remix Quebec favorite Libérez-nous des libéraux and more. 

Workshop Dates: Sunday-Thursday, JUNE 22-27, from 9AM to 11AM
Location: Concordia University, Grey Nuns building (GN-M101), street address 1185 St. Mathieu
Performance Date: 27 June.  Morning rehearsal/setup.  Performance 4-6PM, beginning at Hotel Gouverneur, ending at Square Viger
Contact/Questions: Trudi Cohen,, for Great Small Works

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

World Puppetry Day Spaghetti Dinner


World Puppetry Day

Friday, March 21, 2014
7:00pm            Celebrity Puppet Red Carpet
7:30pm            Reception with Spaghetti
8:00pm            Puppet Cabaret
9:30pm            Fiesta

Teatro SEA @The Clemente
107 Suffolk Street (Between Delancey and Rivington), NYC
$15, to benefit UNIMA-USA

7:00pm  Outdoors on Suffolk Street to welcome puppets of all shapes and sizes.  Music by street band Not Ray's Famous Pizza Brass Band with Max Fass, Greg Squared and surprise guests!

8:00pm  Indoor cabaret with MC Jenny Romaine, and performances by puppeteers from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan, Moscow, the USA:

Teatro SEA
Excerpt from The Legends of the Enchanted Treasure 
Four children discover riches that last longer than material goods: they’re the stories that make up a cultural patrimony.  With animation and shadow, hand and rod puppets. Performed in an easy-to-understand mixture of English and Spanish, it illuminates tales from the Aztecs of Mexico, the Mayas of Guatemala, the Incas of Peru and the Taínos of Puerto Rico. 
Written & Directed by Manuel Antonio Morán for Teatro SEA, a company which specializes in Latino theater for children.

Great Small Works, the Aftselokhes Spectacle Committee and Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
Highlights and traces of the sci-fi puppet Purim thriller
The Spawn of Estheralu: in the Book of Parthenogenesis, the Next Generation

Chris Green
American Weather (work-in-progress title)
Deploying ready-mades, live animation, human-actors, songs, and puppets to re-frame the American condition as a fugue of surrealist micro-plays. Based on actual conversations and inspired by the mythic power of American cliches,  
Developed in ensemble:  Yoko Myoi, Erin K. Orr, Kirstin Kammermeyer, Chris Green, and Quince Marcum
Music by:  C. Green

Chinese Theatre Works
The Ma Ma, Hu Hu Report
Skyped live from Boston!
A panel discussion on the state of the Zodiac, moderated by Horse and Tiger.
Stephen Kaplin, Kuang-Yu Fong and Marta-Mozelle MacRostie

Laurencio Ruiz
Is a lovely mother with prosthetic arms; she’s breast-feeding her hungry baby until the child falls asleep; out of the blue, the baby manages to get more breast-feeding in a very unexpected way.

Miron Gusso
The Flea Circus

Charlie Kanev 
The Little Match Girl

Kate Grow 
Wayang Golek figures

Vicky Cosgrove 
Finger puppets

Guest appearance by centenarian puppeteer Bernice Silver

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Great Small Works will collaborate with Teatro SEA and Puppetry Guild of Greater New York to celebrate International Day of Puppetry.  Outdoor puppet red carpet with live music at 6:30.  Indoor Spaghetti Dinner with pasta and puppet acts galore at 7:30.  All proceeds will benefit UNIMA-USA.  Stay tuned for details.

Friday, March 21, 2014
Teatro SEA, Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center
107 Suffolk Street, NYC