COMMUTE OF THE SPECIES
Collaboration with the Katonah Museum of Art
May 22, 2010 @ 1:53 PM. MTA Station in Katonah, NY.
CALL FOR PUPPETEERS!
On May 22, join us for a pageant of invasive species that will board a commuter train at various stations from Grand Central Terminal to Katonah, merging upon arrival with cacophonous street procession of puppets, costumes, and sound.
Commute of the Species was commissioned as part of the Katonah Museum of Art's exhibition The Art of Contemporary Puppet Theater. The performance will employ an accumulation of puppets on board a designated train to chronicle the arrival of non-native animal and animal species in the Hudson River Valley. This resulting site-specific puppetscape will transform the everyday commuter experience into an allegory of migration, habitat expansion, and unforeseen consequences – in effect, condensing 400 years of eco-history into a single one-hour train ride.
HOW TO TAKE PART:
Join us as a performer or puppet captain on board the MTA.
Come along for the ride!
Join us in Katonah / Bring Your Own Species!
ITINERARY and GUIDELINES for COMMUTE OF THE SPECIES:
The itinerary listed below describes each stop and corresponding species. Puppeteers will meet their group captains at a designated MTA train station at the specified call-time. All puppeteers are asked to dress in business attire for their commute, and to remain "in character" for the duration of the performance (define this as you will . . . ) We will provide business cards, idenitfying key characteristics for each speciess, for performers to offer in response to questions by inquisitive passengers.
GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL: Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) 12:15 call-time.
Brought to the New World in 1606, as domesticated livestock for French colonists in Nova Scotia, the ubiquitous pigeon has become, for better or worse, the iconic bird of modern urban life. Rock pigeons are simple rod puppets and will gather in Grand Central Terminal prior to boarding the train. Gray and blue business attire is encouraged (bonus points for white paint splatters on the shoulders to simulate pigeon droppings), and impromptu coo-ing is also encouraged.
125th STREET: Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) – 12:30 PM call-time.
Introduced by in 1868 by scientist Etienne Trouvalot as a hearty alternative to domestic silkworm breeds, the gypsy moth escaped and flourished. The species now decimates an estimated one million acres of foliage annually, causing widespread damage to old-growth forests throughout the Eastern US. Gypsy moths are articulated puppets carried overhead on a simple flapping mechanism. Performers should wear green business attire if possible (brown is OK too). Bonus points for attire that appears moth-eaten (start checking thrift stores for green polyester golf jackets!). Leaf-chewing en route is encouraged - let's defoliate!
WHITE PLAINS: Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus)– 12:45 PM call-time. Introduced as early as1755, the so-called Norway Rat prospered in the 19th century as urban and industrial development created an ideal habitat for the resourceful scavengers. Norway rats are asked to wear brown business attire. The rat costume consists of a headpiece and long tail, so hands are relatively free. Sniffing, nibbling, and the occasional inquisitive squeak are all par for the course.
VALHALLA: Water Chestnut (Trapa natans) – 1:00 PM call-time.
First cultured in 1877, in the laboratory of eminent Harvard botanist Asa Gray, water chestnuts soon escaped into the Charles River and have never looked back. With seed pods that remain fertile for up to 12 years, and a spiny exoskeleton that repels predators, water chestnuts now clog inland waterways, choking off oxygen supplies for native fish, interfering with navigation and altering the chemistry of an entire ecosystem. Water chestnuts are sculpted lightweight head-pieces with verdant leafy parasols. Performers should wear gray business attire if possible.
CHAPPAQUA: European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) – 1:15 PM call-time.
Eighty of these birds were introduced into Central Park in 1890 by Eugene Schieffelin, who sought to import every bird species named in the works of Shakespeare. Today a single starling flock can exceed one million birds, causing aviation hazards, displacing native species, molesting livestock, and spreading corrosive excrement. European starlings are articulated puppets carried overhead on a simple flapping mechanism. Performers should wear black or dark business attire, especially with patterns. Starlings are encouraged to learn a few calls to foster flock identity en route. Click here for some samples to get you started. . .
MT. KISCO: Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) – 1:15 PM call-time.
Arriving in 1988 as stowaways in the ballast water of transatlantic merchant vessels, zebra mussels have multiplied in US waterways with startling speed and are quickly encroaching upon the Hudson River. Depleting both the oxygen and the micro-fauna of rivers and bays, zebra mussels devour the food and energy sources at the very base of the food chain, affecting every level of the ecosystem. Zebra mussels are articulated puppets carried overhead that open and close on a spring mechanism. Performers should wear yellow and brown business attire (or thick stripes if possible).
KATONAH: Chinese Mitten Crab (Eriocheir sinensis) – 1:30 PM call-time.
This recent arrival to the Hudson Valley is native to coastal estuaries in China and Korea. Although only recently spotted in North American waterways, it may pose a serious threat to native crab fisheries, as well as damaging embankments and drainage systems through its burrowing activities. The Chinese mitten crab is a single giant puppet (eight feet wide with snapping foreclaws), operated by three people. It will meet its fellow invasives at the Katonah train station, leading the procession through the streets of the downtown business district.
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