"squirrel stole my underpants"

"Poste Restante" at Charlestown Working Theater

Squirrel Stole My Underpants Creator Performs for Adults
by Guest Blogger: Bonnie Duncan, (They Gotta Be Secret Agents)

Bonnie Duncan and Tim Gallagher in "Poste Restante"
Poste Restante: A madly inventive mix of acrobatics, paper, laughter, dance, flight, puppetry, longing, and film…all stuffed neatly into a box.

Before creating "Squirrel Stole My Underpants" at Puppet Showplace, I focused my performing work on adult audiences.  "Poste Restante", a piece I made with my dance partner Tim Gallagher, is returning to Boston Feb 20-23rd at Charlestown Working Theater. 

Beyond being a lovely piece of theater, here are the...

Top 5 Reasons you should go see Poste Restante:

1.  If the child in you enjoyed Squirrel Stole My Underpants, the adult in you will be charmed, wowed, and touched by Poste Restante.  It’s the perfect date-night piece of theater.  Or, bring the kids to our Sunday, Feb 23rd show at 2:00 pm---it’s family-friendly!


2.  You can have it all:  Soulful Acrobatics!  Cheeky Theatre!  Refreshing Dance, Puppetry, & Film!  Tim Gallagher and I perform a brilliantly imaginative form of physical theater, effortlessly moving back and forth between acrobatics, puppetry and dance. Our poetically beautiful, absurdly logical show is by turns funny, dazzling, and, in the end, surprisingly poignant.


3.  Poste Restante brings communication down from a high-tech, instant, "now,now, now" process to a more tangible, visceral level where letters and boxes travel through real space and time, and survive countless potential mishaps along the way.  “The charming performance piece is a love letter to the deep human need we have to connect and the terrible trouble we have in succeeding.” – Culture Map Austin


4.  We perform under the name “They Gotta BeSecret Agents” which is apt, considering how we usually spend our daily lives:  I am the mother of 3 kids under the age of 5, living in Jamaica Plain; Tim is finishing up medical school in New York City and will begin a 4 year residency in Emergency Medicine in June.  We created and currently rehearse this show on the weekends, traveling between cities, mailing various items and ideas through the mail.


5.  This show won “Best Touring Show” (Austin Critic’s Table), “Best of the Fringe” & “Best Physical Comedy” (San Francisco Fringe).  It’s received standing ovations from audiences across the US and Europe.  The Prague Post called Poste Restante "Inspired choreography that is so stark and evocative... this crowd pleaser is not to be missed.”  It was developed with support from the Jim Henson Foundation, Puppeteers of America Endowment grant, Cambridge Arts Council, and the Mass Cultural Council. 

See you and your friends there!

- Bonnie



AHHH!!! There's a Squirrel Thief at Puppet Showplace!

VACA WEEK CONTINUES WITH:

"Squirrel Stole My Underpants"
by Bonnie Duncan
(SOLD OUT) Thurs & Fri, Dec 26 & 27 at 10:30am & 1pmSat & Sun, Dec 28 & 29 at 1pm & 3pm

All shows are performed with a LIVE MUSICAL score!

BUY TICKETS

Check your knickers, because that pesky underpants-stealing squirrel is back in town! Many of the performances scheduled during the 2013 December vacation week are already SOLD OUT, and advanced tickets are highly recommended. "Squirrel Stole My Underpants" made its debut at Puppet Showplace in January of 2013 during our "New Year, New Shows" series for new work by local artists.

Here's what creator/performer Bonnie has to say about the show:
“I am exploring that delicate time in childhood when you desperately want to be a grown up, but you still need your blanket to make you feel safe,” Duncan said in a press release. “I am using puppetry as a way to fill the world of one lonely girl with many friends, foes, and magical creatures…to bring to life an unordinary world.”



About the show: Sylvie is sent to the backyard to hang up the laundry. The moment her back is turned, a mischievous squirrel steals her favorite piece of clothing and runs off.
When Sylvie gives chase, an entire world emerges from her laundry basket, and curious characters show her the way through mysterious lands. Will our lonely heroine rescue her underpants and discover the magic within herself? Join us on this adventure to find out!



About the performer: For the last 14 years, Bonnie Duncan has been creating and performing work as a dancer, puppeteer, and actor. She grew up in the South where she danced and swam competitively. She studied education and theatre in college and grad school where she developed a knack for costume on the cheap and acting in original theatre pieces. She danced around the world for 8 years with Snappy Dance Theater and in 2007, formed They Gotta Be Secret Agents with Tim Gallagher to create work mixing dance, theater, puppetry and circus arts. Her work has been shown in theaters in Boston, Providence, New York City, San Francisco, Austin, TX, Germany, and Czech Republic. Bonnie also has a masters degree in arts integration and teaches drama & movement in elementary and middle schools. She is mom to Jack Ozro (four) and Rex and Adelaide (two and two). And finally, she loves cupcakes. www.the-secret-agents.com

Bonnie gives a post-show demo with musicians after the show!
Brendan Burns (music) is a guitarist and educator rooted in Somerville, MA. He released his debut album TimeStamp (recorded live at the Somerville Theatre) in 2012. Brendan is a founding member of the music and puppetry troupe Elephant Tango Ensemble (nominated for an IRNE award), former director of the house band for Bent Wit Cabaret and a regular contributor with SchoolTree, Kristen Ford Band, Karin Webb, Molly Zenobia, and Brendan Burns' Roadhouse. Brendan holds a Bachelor's Degree from Berklee College of Music and is the guitar department coordinator at Brookline Music School. http://www.brendanburns.com/

Tony Leva (music) is an educator, improvisor, collaborator, and performer. He performs regularly with Bury Me Standing, Jaggery, The Michael Dobeil Quartet and the Junk Kitchen Players. Since 2002 he has been actively studying and performing on the upright bass. He currently teaches bass at the Rockport Community School and is an active collaborator/educator at Tunefoolery, an artist collective of musicians with psychiatric disabilities. Tony also studies the sintir (A North African bass lute) and has occasionally performed on trumpet, melodica, accordion, and clown nose. http://anthonyleva.wordpress.com/

Hold Onto Your Underpants...

Squirrel On the Loose at Puppet Showplace!

Back by Popular Demand: "Squirrel Stole My Underpants" by Bonnie Duncan



Just when you thought you were having a bad day, nothing makes things more complicated than losing your underpants. However, you did not lose them by accident; they were stolen! In this exciting journey through the imagination, performer Bonnie Duncan takes us on little Sylive's adventure to retrieve her favorite pair of underpants from a silly sneaky squirrel.

Bonnie combines puppetry, dance, original music, and mime in a way that might just knock your socks off- or even your underwear! Will our lonely heroine rescue her underpants and discover the magic within herself? Join us on this adventure to find out!

Showtimes:

August 7-10
Wed-Sat
10:30am & 1pm
BUY TICKETS!

About Bonnie Duncan...

Bonnie Duncan has come a long way since her days growing up in the south competing in dance and swimming competitions. After studying theatre and education in college, Bonnie continued into grad school learning how to make her own costumes while acting in original theatre pieces. The solo puppeteer creates her own award winning productions which she brings to theatres, museums and festivals across the country.

With every performance during her last visit to Puppet Showplace SOLD OUT, it goes to show that Bonnie Duncan's performances are not ones you want to miss!

LIVE MUSIC!

Every performance of "Squirrel Stole My Underpants" this week will be accompanied by live music.  What a special treat!

PST Musician-in-Residence on Creating Music for "Squirrel"

Bonnie Duncan in "Squirrel Stole My Underpants"

"NEW YEAR, NEW SHOWS!": Series of new work created by local artists continues with great success!

What an EXCITING weekend! After a completely sold out run this past Saturday and Sunday, "Squirrel Stole My Underpants" by Bonnie Duncan is bringing much joy and adventure to audiences young and old.  The final weekend of performances runs Thursday through Sunday, Jan 31-Feb 3.


New Year, NEW MUSIC!
In addition to Bonnie's unique mash up of theatrical tricks, including dance, physical theatre, and puppetry, local musicians created a brilliant score to help take the audience on an underpants search-party adventure.  Puppet Showplace Theatre's own musician-in-residence, Brendan Burns is one of the co-composers and performers.

Brendan Burns is a guitarist & educator rooted in Somerville, MA.  He released his debut album TimeStamp (recorded live at the Somerville Theatre) in 2012 (available via BandCampiTunes & Spotify), and is featured in Alexia Prichard's Documentary about the project; as well as the Boston Globe.  Brendan is a regular contributor with SchoolTreeKristen Ford BandKarin WebbMolly Zenobia & Brendan Burns' Roadhouse.  He is also a founding member of the music & puppetry troupe: Elephant Tango Ensemble (nominated for an IRNE), former director of the house band for Bent Wit Cabaret and currently the musician-in-residence at the Puppet Showplace Theatre

Brendan is today's guest blogger, writing about his experience collaborating on this exciting new project.

Creating Music for Squirrel Stole My Underpants 
by Guest Blogger: Brendan Burns

Bonnie Duncan is amazing.  I've been an admirer of her work and creative brain for years.  
Bonnie Duncan in "Squirrel Stole My Underpants"
She first introduced me to "The Squirrel" at a Puppet Incubator meeting at the Puppet Showplace Theatre.  Her show: Squirrel Stole My Underpants was still in development, but the idea was amazing and the creator was brilliant.  

Bonnie asked for my help to bring musicians into the project, and we soon discovered it was the perfect opportunity for Tony Leva (upright bass) and I to take on as co-composers.  For a little over two months, we met every Wednesday morning at the Puppet Showplace Theatre and tried out ideas.  Sometimes we would work on the entire show, and other times it was just one scene, but all of the time we were laughing & giggling.  Tony would record our rehearsals so we could listen back to our ideas, and most of the time he captured the three of us giggling uncontrollably at the silliness of what we were creating.  Here's an audio clip of an early draft of Sylvie's Lament where we were playing around with the sadness that comes from realizing your favorite underwear has been stolen by a squirrel - you can hear how long were able to keep things serious….
Example music sketches for "Squirrel Stole My Underpants"
Over time, and with lots of practice, we created the music that fit perfectly for this show.  As composers, Tony & I are mostly underscoring Bonnie and providing support where she needs it.  Our job is help illuminate and tie together the fantasy adventure that Bonnie has created. 
Top Left: Brendan Burns, Right: Tony Leva, Bottom Left: Ariel Bernstein
Early in the process, Tony & I realized that we would not be able to perform every show that Bonnie was going to put on, and therefore we strategized a way for her to use recorded versions of us when necessary.  Using the talents of engineer Ariel Bernstein, we crafted and chaptered a recording of the entire score so that Bonnie could use us on CD, triggering us to the next track when she needed it with a hidden remote.  Through studying our rehearsal video, we recorded and delivered a flexible soundtrack that could allow for spontaneity and consistency for whenever and wherever Bonnie was performing.  In the future, we hope to play with Bonnie in every way that we can, but if doesn't work out, we'll be there in spirit - on the recording. 

-Bb

Brendan and Tony will perform live music for the 10:30am performance of "Squirrel Stole My Underpants" on Thursday, January 31st, and 3pm on Sunday, Feb 3rd!

New Year, New Shows: A Note From the Artist


PST Presents the WORLD PREMIERE performance of...

"Squirrel Stole My Underpants" by Bonnie Duncan

Sat & Sun: Jan 26 & 27 at 1pm & 3pm
Thurs & Fri: Jan 31 & Feb 1 at 10:30am
Sat & Sun: Feb 2 & 3 at 1pm & 3pm

BUY TICKETS

About the Show: Sylvie is sent to the backyard to hang up the laundry. The moment her back is turned, a mischievous squirrel steals her favorite piece of clothing and runs off. When Sylvie gives chase, an entire world emerges from her laundry basket, and curious characters show her the way through mysterious lands. Will our lonely heroine rescue her underpants and discover the magic within herself? Join us on this adventure to find out!


Bonnie and Tim:
 "They Gotta Be Secret Agents"
About the Performer: Bonnie Duncan had already travelled the world as an acrobatic dancer and award-winning fringe theatre artist when she took a break from touring to raise her three young children. Bonnie found herself wanting to tour the world again, but this time with a show for kids. In addition to trying out ideas for the piece in her living room (her husband, Dan Milstein, directed the show), the growing community of local puppeteers nurtured by the Puppet Showplace Theatre gave Bonnie the resources to complete the work.

Bonnie Duncan has been creating and performing work as a dancer, puppeteer, and actor for the past 13 years. She danced for 8 years with Snappy Dance Theater and in 2007, formed “They Gotta Be Secret Agents” with Tim Gallagher, to create work mixing dance, theater, puppetry and circus arts. Her work has been shown in theaters in Boston, Providence, New York City, San Francisco, Austin, TX, Germany, and Czech Republic. The Secret Agents were awarded Austin Critics Table Award for “Best Touring Show of 2011,” Best of the Fringe, San Francisco, and were nominated for Most Innovative Show at Prague Fringe Festival.

The Making of Squirrel Stole My Underpants
BY GUEST BLOGGER: BONNIE DUNCAN

Bonnie Duncan and her three Children.

Squirrel Stole My Underpants came at a time in my life when I was looking for a change.  I have three small children—a four year old and two 19 month old twins. Before I’d started a family, I’d worked part time as a drama teacher, and, in every free minute, thrown myself into a blizzard of art and performance making—dance, puppetry, costume design, circus arts.  But with my oh-so-wonderful and yet oh-so-demanding family, that just wasn’t proving to be possible anymore.

Creating a show I could tour for family audiences felt like it brought a lot together: I could draw on all the (weird, wonderful, and totally unmarketable) skills I had developed; I could build a schedule around my family life (and maybe even have an excuse to take them all on the road with me); and I could get back to what I love—making art.

Squirrel 4.0
I was lucky enough to obtain early support from Puppet Showplace Theatre and the Jim Henson Foundation.  With the time that gave me, I was able to really delve into what can make a family show feel wonderful. Many ideas came and went but a few themes stuck with me:  how hard it is to grow up, those magic items that make you feel secure as a kid, and the injustice of something being taken.  And, thus, Squirrel Stole My Underpants began to take shape. 

Fast-forward ten months and here we are:  premiere week at Puppet Showplace. 

Top Ten Things I learned from this process:

1. Kids will always get sick the week of a deadline.  Sleep goes by the wayside and some things just don’t get done---whether it is laundry or fixing the broken rod on a puppet.

2. Once I surrounded myself with amazing collaborators, my work got better.  The musicians, costume designer, director, and set designer are all super talented and I feel so lucky that they are on my team.
Bonnie on the set of "Squirrel Stole My Underpants"
3. If you need to know if something works on stage, show your kid.  Then, show his friends.  If they don’t like it, scrap it. 

4. Having the support of the Puppet Showplace & Henson Foundation gave me structure, a place to rehearse, business advice, connections for assistance--you name it.

5. Some things work on paper.  A lot of those things don’t work on stage.  Make a mock-up first, put it on its feet, build it out if there is promise.  Then throw it out if it still doesn’t work.

6. I built four versions of the main character before I found the perfect design.  Sometimes you just have to make things over and over before it is right. 




7. At some point during a rehearsal, I looked up and laughed hysterically.  I realized that I am in my 30s and making a show about hot pink polka dot underpants and squirrels.

8. Procrastination is part of the process.  The internet, baking an elaborate cake, and just staring out the window are part of it all.  It may feel like the show will never get made but it does especially when there is a deadline involving the possibility of embarrassing yourself in front of strangers.

9. Having a studio space in my apartment was key.  When the kids napped, I worked with no commute time.  My husband (who directed this show) and I also worked in our dining room in the evenings after everyone was asleep.  Working from home made everything possible.

10. This may be a solo show but it is far from a solo process.  Family, friends, and colleagues made this possible.  Without them, I would still be staring at a blank stage.

I feel very thankful that Squirrel Stole My Underpants.

--Bonnie Duncan