Legs on ‘Oliday is a puppet dance choreographed for a company of legs. It was originally created for a gala event fundraiser on 11/11/11 for our buddies, No.11 Productions. Since then, it has also been performed at one of the Great Small Works famous spaghetti dinners/puppet slams and alongside new work from No.11 Productions at our fundraiser, “Drinking With Puppets.”
Since 2011, the Little Did leg puppets have featured in several of our works, including as a cultural exchange with our collaborator on “A Ramayana,” Rachael MacBean of Rahales Little Theater in West Bengal. In 2022, Luke presented the below excerpt from “Waiting for Godot” at Little Did’s Incubator Night:
SOLINA is Little Did’s first all-original, full-length show written and designed for New York audiences. It’s the story of young girl, told through diverse styles of puppetry and original music, who awakens to Rooster’s call and discovers Sun is missing and everyone she loves is trapped in a deep sleep, peacefully unaware. She ventures into the darkness to speak to the creatures of the night, encountering false trails, riddles, and dangerous characters on a quest to find Sun and save the world from darkness. This original hybrid multimedia puppet opera draws from myths, techniques, and musics from a variety of cultures to resonate as something rooted in the familiar, yet never before seen.
SOLINA premiered at the 2015 New York International Fringe Festival. It was presented at the Theater for the 14th St Y, where critics called it “one of the most ambitious and thoughtfully constructed offerings at Fringe 2015.”
“The company’s puppets are jaw-dropping, and accompany actors in a way that doesn’t fade them into the background, but draws even the grumpiest theatergoer into their joyful fantasy.”
Solina is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. It was also workshopped as part of Standard ToyKraft’s Hot Time in the Old City Residency.
In 2020, Little Did Productions did a pod residency at The Quonochontaug Grange, where a new cast recorded a “sing-through” of the rewritten Solina. Please enjoy the new version of Solina below, shot by Shaun Dawson.
Little Did explores the nature of cross-cultural collaboration with A Ramayana, a selection from an epic poem familiar to over a billion people. Using live sitar and overhead projectors, the company presents shadow puppetry in raga form.
Our first, ten-minute excerpt of the piece premiered as part of Rachel Feinstein’s “Last Days of Folly” event in Madison Square Park on September 3, 2014 (sponsored by Performa). You can see pictures from this premiere performance below. In 2016, Little Did reprised a revised version of our Ramayana piece at Threes Brewing bar and event space in Brooklyn. The performance was part of Isaac Gillespie’s music residency which also featured an original mask piece by Sara Jane Munford. In 2017, we performed it as part of Chinese Theater Works’ Shadow Slam.
From 2017-2019, Little Did expanded the piece from a wordless ten minutes to an evening-length full production. By enlisting the help of incredible Indian collaborators in the fields of design, music and puppetry, we created a show for all ages and cultures that’s artistically curious yet culturally sensitive. A Ramayana premiered during October 2019 at the Tank Theater, and featured a multidisciplinary collective of artists inspired by puppetry styles from South Asia, traditional raga music of North India and a “video narrator” from West Bengal. In addition to our 6 shows, we also organized and led 3 different workshops that delved into some of the themes presented, including press-screen puppetry, Carnatic singing and the Ramayana story in the context of Diwali.
An Excerpt from “A Ramayana”:
A Ramayana is made possible in part by the ITE Space Grant for Theater (curated by Leta Tremblay), The NancyQuinn Fund, the Creative Space Grant and the Creative Opportunity Fund (programs of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation). It was also supported by public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. It was developed in residency with In The Water Theatre Company, Drop Forge and Tool Company, BarnArts and the Center at West Park Object Movement Festival.
Special Thanks to our incredible donors who made this show possible by donating $5,842 to our crowdfunding campaign: Elyse Levesque, Elizabeth Coan, Joe and Maureen Moses, Starry Krueger, Julie Congress, Bob and Sandy Santy, Monica Mordaunt, Christopher Lowell, Phil Soltanoff, Sarah Whalen, Kemmerer Rebecca, Cole Knapper, Jonathan Moses, Sam Gold, George Peterson, Katherine Goodman, Joe and Patrice Lorence, Teresa Hooper, Denise Baddour, Matthew Keyes, Chrissie Brewer, Ema Holdredge, Deborah Downes, Colin Lord, Kathleen Lord, Matt Caldamone, Steve Carlin, Rachel Derr, Martha Bennet, Debra Navratil, Hugh Brewer, Jacboo Perez, Barbara Peterson, Lee Bilsky and Molly Johnsen
Little Did’s take on Toy Theater is a reimagining of an old folk tale set to original music. The piece is performed in front of a pop-up book that sets the stage for this dark love story. After workshopping at a Great Small Works Soiree we were accepted to perform it as part of the prestigious Toy Theater Festival Presented by St. Ann’s Warehouse in June 2013. It was also performed at The Hare Club in November 2013.
In 2015, Eli was remounted for the Puppeteers of America National Festival! We are so thankful to have performed this special show for our peers. This version of the show featured a new cast and was workshopped as part of Standard ToyKraft’s Hot Time in the Old City Residency.
In 2020, in an attempt to raise relief funds for the company, Eli, the Luthier (the film) premiered to the public for streaming! It was truly made for video, with multiple cameras and no audience, but run straight through so as the feeling of live theater. Thank you so much to the 2013 cast for participating, and to Ryan Keyes and our friends at nyiloveyou.tv
“Looking back at Eli while writing grants to secure funding for our 2020 residency, it strikes me how much of our current mission and working method continues to be informed by it. To Jessica and I, Eli represents our first major work out of college. Featuring DIY-style handmade puppets paired with live, looped cello, it acted as a sort of ‘proof of concept’ of what our collaboration could be. After the stressful experience of loading puppets in and out of a circus tent for Fringe Festival, we conceived of Eli as a show that could travel on a subway, with pop-up sets and toy theater-style puppets that would fit on a tabletop. We never would have guessed that it would eventually play for hundreds of puppet enthusiasts at the 2015 National Puppetry Festival–on one of the biggest stages that we’ve ever worked on.”
The Lost Children is a ten-minute piece conceived for The Experimental Puppet Theater Festival at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia. Directed by Jessica and designed by Jessica and Katarra, The Lost Children utilizes shadow puppetry to retell the French folk tale that inspired Hansel and Gretel. Featuring original music by Luke, the piece premiered in the Spring of 2009 with narration by Patrick Martin and a number of very talented new puppeteers. It was then remounted in New York with a new cast and played at our “Drinking With Puppets” fundraiser. This cast also brought the show out of town to UConn’s Fall 2014 Puppet Slam! You can download the new version of the song at our Bandcamp page.
2001 was conceived and performed for Sinking Ship Productions‘ Puppet Playlist 15: Playlist Goes to the Movies in January of 2013. Puppet Playlist takes brilliant puppeteers and talented musicians and slams them together into an evening of live theater to stir the senses. This Playlist featured original works of puppetry inspired by the silver screen’s esoteric & blockbusters alike, mixed with live musical interpretations by some of New York’s most exciting young singer-songwriters. 2001 was Little Did’s debut at Playlist but we are long-time fans and supporters. 2001 was performed alongside pieces by puppeteers such as Jake Bazel, Noah Ginex and Jessica Simon, Leila Ghaznavi, Ora Fruchter, Standard ToyKraft with DJ Dubious Luxury, Eric Wright & Katrina Denney.
Kitty Kitty Rock is a music video made for our friend and brilliant musician, MiWi La Lupa in 2011. Starring Emily’s cat, Albert, the video tells the story of a common household cat who runs away to find his fortune. Download the Song here or watch the video below:
This shadow puppet/film hybrid set to the music of David Bowie premiered at the Band of Puppets Fest in November 2010 at The Bushwick Starr alongside performances from One Whole Asian Productions, Eliza Laytner and Tanner Slick, Andrea Detwiler, Patricia Nelson and our friends from Skidmore, No. 11 Productions. Created by the core company: Jessica, Luke, Emily, Swhay and Katarra (with some puppet building help from Isabel Crosby and Garrett Cook).
The Did’s second show was Jessica’s Senior Project Super Happy Fun Time Puppet Cabaret. Presented in Skidmore College’s Blackbox Theater in the Spring of 2008, the piece featured Jessica, Emily and Katarra’s designing skills on some new types of puppets, including some experimentation with the Japanese art of bunraku. Luke acted as musical director and narrator as the company performed renditions of songs by The Blow, The Charlie Daniels Band, The Beatles, The Decemberists and Whitney Houston. Enjoy two excerpts below:
The show that started it all, Silly Silverstein, was adapted by Jessica from the words and music of beloved artist Shel Silverstein. Premiering as part of the Skidmore College workshop program in the Spring of 2007, variations of it have since been performed at the Saratoga Arts Festival, Camp Jewell YMCA, Skidmore’s Academic Festival, and, most notably, as Part of the New York International Fringe Festival Summer 2008. Read:Reviews