A few months ago, Katherine Fahey designed the shadow puppets in Wye Oak’s “Fish,” her next project is also in the art of shadow puppets, but this time in a style called “cranky.” (Cranky: An old fashioned scrolling shadow puppet show in a box.) Her performance is titled “Elizabeth Whitmore.”
Fahey is among several performers who will be sharing their work at The Black Cherry Puppet Theatre’s “Puppet Slamwich,” with shows at 7pm and 9pm, on Saturday, June 18.
How did you get involved with the Black Cherry Puppet Theater?
I’ve been a fan of Black Cherry for years. Jennifer Strunge approached me about performing approached me about performing when they heard I was working on a shadow puppet show for Wye Oak’s music video. I had been wanting to do something based on this song for a while now.
How was your experience creating the shadow puppet show?
This project was challenging but extremely gratifying at the same time. It was a puzzle, how to transition from one scene to the next and what parts of the song to illustrate and what to leave out. My intern Raj Bunnag was helping me cut things from my drawings. At the end of the day we would just stand and stare at what we had done. It was so rewarding to watch each scene come to life.
What can people expect from your show?
I hope people will feel what I felt when I heard this song for the first time. I was immediately taken in by this woman’s amazing strength, bravery, and good will. I hope the shadow puppet show will enhance that experience.
Why do you think they should attend?
It’s rare nowadays to encounter entertainment as personal as a puppet show. I would like the cranky to inspire people to go home and make one or find their own way to tell their story.
This song was written by a woman living in 1978 about a woman who lived in the same place in the mid-18th century. The song is about Elizabeth Whitmore, but you feel the connection Carol (the songwriter) felt to Elizabeth.
This connection is what I think I felt when I heard the song. Carol told me she was supporting herself as a single mother when she wrote this song.
Jay Dilisio will be accompanying me on the fiddle.
I’ve been invited to perform the show in Vermont for the songwriter near where the Whitmores lived.