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Welcome to the Arden Theatre Company blog, where we share behind-the-scenes stories and current happenings with you. You will hear from the Arden staff as well as actors and other visiting artists, and we hope to hear from you, too. If you have an idea for a topic, please post a comment about it. We can't wait to hear what you think!

In Beauty and the Beast, we use a lot of small objects to create big shadows!  Those shadows create the rose garden, the wolves, Belle’s bed, and more!  Making shadow puppets of your own is easy, and a great way to tell your very own stories!  We asked Sebastienne Mundheim of White Box Theatre, who created all of the shadow puppets that we use in our show, to tell you a little bit about how she makes them so you can try it yourself! 

You can make a shadow puppet using stiff paper and a pair of scissors and a little tape or glue.  If you are older you might use an x-acto knife which is tool some people use for cutting very exact lines into paper.  I like just using scissors.

I start by making a drawing of a character or an object on the stiff paper.

I cut out the big outline first.

Then I use my scissors to cut out the most important lines inside the drawing.  I have to choose carefully so I don’t cut too many lines.

Sebastienne at work cutting puppets

Sebastienne at work cutting puppets

CHOOSING WHAT KINDS OF LINES TO MAKE:

I like to make lines that show the action, gesture or expression in the drawing.

That means lines that show where parts of the body might change direction.

Smiling mouths and eyes give expression and change the direction of the face. Your mouth and eyes have lines that express happiness, sadness, surprise.

If you turn your head, you can feel where your skin crunches together between your chin and your neck.

Or if you bend your knee, there is also a line on the back of your leg where the skin folds or crunches together.

I think about which of those lines tell the most about the character I am making.  Is it most important that my character is running?  Smiling?  Jumping? How do the lines I make show that?

For example, when I made the running wolves in Beauty and the Beast I made a very few simple lines to show their muscles and how active they are.

Some people like to make lines that show the decoration on something — the textures or patterns of clothing.  See if you can notice different kinds of lines in the world around you.  Ones that show gesture or expression or ones that show texture and pattern.

CUTTING

Once I have made my drawing I cut out the big shape and then I cut away the important lines.  For me those are the lines that show the most expression or gesture.

If I need to get into the middle of the paper to get to my line, I just cut straight to my line and cut away the section where I want the gesture to show.  I tape up the cut I made to get into the center.

I check my cut outs as I go by holding them up to the light to see how the shadow looks.

That’s the best part.  The shadows are always beautiful.

Different kinds of lights make different shadows.  We use a single bulb LED flashlight for our show.  It makes a really clear shadow!  But the sun makes good shadows too!

Take a look at these photos of us experimenting with our shadow puppets and lights to see what would look the best!

 

Testing some of the shadows used in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Testing some of the shadows used in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

YOU can make shadow puppets at home, just like the ones we use onstage in Beauty and the Beast!  With those shadow puppets, you can create a new imaginary world of your own and tell your own stories at home!  If you make a shadow puppet, have an adult help you take a picture of the shadow it creates and share it with us on social media! Make sure to use the hashtag #ArdenBeast so that we see your photo. 

Everyone who shares their shadow puppet photo with us will be entered to win four tickets to see The Jungle Book this spring.

 

Karina Arroyave as the poem-writing "Haikumom" in the Arden's production of "Water by the Spoonful."

In Quiara Alegria Hudes’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Water by the Spoonful,  Odessa (Haikumom) Ortiz uses haiku to help manage the chaos in her mind and focus on the present moment.

We want to hear from you! What are you thinking now? What was your response to Water by the Spoonful? Take what is on your mind at this moment and create a haiku of your own!

 

Contest Guidelines

  • Following the guidelines for haiku (three lines following the pattern: five syllables, seven syllables, five syllables), describe what is on your mind at this moment
  • Post the haiku on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #ardenwaterphilly or email them to waterphilly@ardentheatre.org. Post by March 1st for a chance to win:
    • First Prize: $200 cash prize & two tickets to opening night of Three Sisters
    • Second Prize: $100 cash prize and two tickets to Three Sisters*
    • Ten finalists: Two tickets to a performance of Three Sisters.

 

*excludes opening night

 

The Arden staff took some time out of their preparation for Water by the Spoonful to create some of their own haiku:

 

Working together

To make live theater happen

I know I am home.

-Emily (Apprentice)

 

Pulling and shopping

Creating looks for actors

Nine characters clothed

-Alison (Costumes)

 

Tech is coming soon. 

Build set, hang lights, make costumes. 

Don’t forget the props

-Jessi (Production)

 

Water in a spoon

Addiction and a divorce

Death and forgiveness

-Chris (Props)

 

Come see great stories

Told by great storytellers.

The Arden Theatre.

-Will (Apprentice)

 

 

Water by the Spoonful runs now through March 16th.

 

In Stick Fly, Lydia R. Diamond writes about one weekend for the LeVay family on Martha’s Vineyard. What do you have in common with this family? Or this weekend getaway?

Share your story with us!

Tell us about one or more of the following:

  • A vacation home –  One cherished and often visited, here or perhaps one new to you
  • A significant other’s first time meeting the family – Maybe the first time you brought a spouse home, >sick or visited your boyfriend’s family, or a sibling or child brought home a girlfriend
  • A Game Night – A family tradition or a particularly memorable victory or defeat

Then:
 

  • Email your contribution to creativeresponse@ardentheatre.org (Videos should be sent as links to content hosted online. No attachment should exceed 5MB).
  • Submit your response by Tuesday, December 17. 
  • Members of the Arden staff will then select 10 finalists to be featured on the Arden blog. Then, audiences can vote for their favorite response by leaving a comment on the entry here on this sight or on the Arden’s Facebook page.
  • On Friday, December 20 we will name the winner of the contest!
  • 1 Grand Prize – $200 and an invitation for two to opening night of Water by the Spoonful
  • 2 Runners Up – $100 each and two tickets to Water by the Spoonful
  • All 10 Finalists will receive 2 tickets to Water by the Spoonful


Get creating!

 The Arden reserves the right to post, share, and publicize all entries with proper credit to the creator.

©2009 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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