The Orchid Flotilla:
Gestural Theater & Shadow Puppetry
Puppetry & Performance by Caroline Reck & Gricelda Silva
Found Object Shadow Puppetry & Costumes by Erin Meyer
March 23- April 6, performance times TBA
Salvage Vanguard Theater, 2803 Manor Rd. (click for map)
The flotilla is a tiny floating island of rubbish, adrift on a sea of blue plastic. Characters arise out of the depths in the form of human performers, manipulated objects, plastic junk masquerading as organic material, and human limbs manipulated as puppets. These characters are unified in their search for meaning in a solitary existence. From the depths of lonely imagination arises a sensual and poetic narrative about the transformative power of companionship and a witty examination of disposable packaging.
Original Sound & Music by Eliot Haynes & Adam Sultan
Scenic Design by Connor Hopkins -- Lights by Megan Reilly
History of the Production Inspired by a trip to the sinking Sunderban Islands in India and Bengladesh, work began in 2008 on The Orchid Flotilla. A gestural theatre and shadow puppetry performance, which also incorporates body puppetry, object manipulation, and live sound amplification, it explores several convergent themes: the human capacity to overcome ecological disaster; the transformative power of companionship (real or imagined); and the usefulness and uselessness of the manufactured objects we depend upon.
First presented in 2010 at Salisbury University for the International Association for Environmental Philosophy's conference "Geo-Aesthetics in the Anthropocene", The Orchid Flotilla is a deeply meditative piece, punctuated by humorous moments that acknowledge the universal struggle inherent in the human condition. The story unfolds over five "days" from sunrise to sunset and spans 13 years of the woman's life. During the "nighttime" sequences, shadow puppets and human shadows in the canopy of the flotilla reveal further details about the inner workings of the woman's mind, heart, memory, and hopes.