From the warped minds of 14 Pews artistin-resident Two Star Symphony, and its dark puppetmaster counterpart, Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theatre, comes the despairingly funny black comedy Danse Macabre: The Constant Companion. It’s the tale of Sid, a man who wallows in hopelessness and despair, eventually resolving to kill himself. “He seeks help,” Joel Orr, Bobbindoctrin’s founder and artistic director, tells us, “but only finds encouragement to commit suicide. In a way, this is a parable of depression. All around him he sees signs that this is the best possible solution. It’s cruel, for sure, but funny.”
Houston audiences first saw a Two Star and Bobbindoctrin Constant Companion collaboration on a decade ago. After a two-week run, the show closed and the puppets were packed away. Two Star Symphony recently approached Orr with the idea of resurrecting the show when it won a residency at 14 Pews. Orr agreed and the puppets came out of storage. “I still had all of the puppets, but had to rebuild the sets and some effects, and then do my best to reconstruct what we did back then. Luckily, Christopher Daniello, our sound designer, had all our sound archives, sound cue instructions and the list of videos we ended up reprising in the show. With this, I was able to successfully piece the show back together.”
To be sure, Constant Companion is low-tech. The puppets are handmade and manipulated by Orr and other puppeteers who are visible to the audience. “In this...world of CGI and lush digital sounds, we operate in a decidedly analog way. Even the video [seen in the show] was constructed using an old PixelVision video camera to give it an old, grainy, otherworldly effect.”
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8 p.m. Thursday through Monday. 800 Aurora. For information, visit bobbindoctrin.wordpress.com. Pay-what-you-can to $15.
Nov. 6-10, 8 p.m., 2014