Posts Tagged ‘Figures of Speech’

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Creative Aging

July 12, 2018

Grant recipient

Figures of Speech Theatre was the recipient of a Creative Aging grant this year from the Maine Arts Commission. The project took place at The Park Danforth, an assisted senior living and retirement home located in Portland. Ian Bannon is the Director of Education for Figures of Speech Theatre. And he is a member of the two Maine Arts Commission teaching artist rosters – creative aging and PK-12.  Ian shared this video that was created during the project at The Park Danforth. The Maine Arts Commission provided the opportunity a workshop for the TimeSlips program. TimeSlips is a creative storytelling methodology that is addresses the needs of people with cognitive challenges. If you’re not familiar with TimeSlips please take 4 minutes and watch the video. It provides an overview of the program and the magic that Ian Bannon brings to the program.

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The Art of Memory

November 23, 2016

Working on the outer islands

Teaching Artist and Director of Education for Figures of Speech Theatre Ian Bannon isn’t afraid to take on challenging ideas and make them into something lasting for learners.

Last year Figures of Speech Theatre and the Island Institute partnered to produce “The Art of Memory: Stories from Maine’s Outer Islands,” a shadow puppet film based on oral histories gathered on some of Maine’s most remote islands. He traveled from island to island during the spring of 2015 working with students to create the video. For details of the work please CLICK HERE.

You can view the 5-minute behind-the-scenes documentary by CLICKING HERE. And, the full 35-minute film at THIS LINK.

Ian is on the Maine Arts Commission Teaching Artist roster and this project was partially funded by the Maine Arts Commission.

Anerca

Figures of Speech Theatre creates and tours visionary works of performance forged at the intersection of poetry, music, sculpture and dance.Whether the work is an adaptation of a simple Comanche Indian legend, the recitation of T.S. Eliot poetry, or a silent, visual tapestry surrounding a piece of contemporary classical music, our dream is to create theater in which the form of the work so intricately meshes with the content of the work that the two are as one, and each invisibly reinforces the other. As Doris Lessing has said, “The story dictates the means of telling it.”

Drawing on the artistic genius of many collaborators, the company guides adventurous audiences on journeys where, in the words of one reviewer, “layers of reality vs. abstraction, of reality vs. performance, of perception itself, are gently explored.”

The company has toured all over the world – from Sofia, Bulgaria to Tokyo, Japan, to Lima, Peru. Besides performing at venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution, and the New Victory Theatre on Broadway, the company retains a strong commitment to teaching and performing throughout its home state of Maine.

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Another Student’s Story: Charlie Lehmer

April 19, 2015

An interview with Charlie Lehmer

Periodically individuals are featured on the Maine Arts Education blog as part of a series called “Another Student’s Story”. Their “Arts” stories are shared with you, the Arts Education community. Please share with others. If you know of anyone who should be sharing their stories, please contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov.

charlie2Thanks to Ian Bannon from Figures of Speech Theatre for introducing me to Charlie Lehmer so he could tell his story. Charlie is presently a senior at Goucher College and will graduate this spring. His area of passion is film making.

In Charlie’s own words…

I graduated from Freeport High School in 2011. I mostly took music classes in high school. Unfortunately scheduling was so tight, essentially I had to choose either music or art classes. Outside of classes I participated in the student play every year as well as Figures of Speech’s program. In college I’ve taken a wide range of art classes, from drawing to visual design to photoshop to film. Currently I’m a Communications and Media Studies major, though I try to take art classes whenever my schedule allows it.

What do you value most from your arts education?

The hands off approach! It’s allowed me to follow. Because my school doesn’t really work directly with film, it’s allowed me to teach myself and really build up a passion that I think wouldn’t be so strong if it all seemed like homework. For me, learning about film never feels like work and that’s something incredible valuable, even if it was indirectly developed.

Name some skills, ideas, or life-long tools that you have learned in your visual and performing arts courses?

Keep your crew happy. In film, especially the early stages, your crew is generally doing you a favor, and a happy crew means a great film. If your crew doesn’t feel like they’re in a positive space and having a good time, the project generally tends to flop over.

Less is more. It’s easy with digital cameras to just shoot everything you see, but planning out a shot is where you really start to push your creativity and focus in on the finer details of a shoot. When you really take the time to stop and observe before filming, the shot will look great, or at least better than it would if you just click record.

I am a different person due to my involvement in the arts because…

At first it was my involvement with theatre in high school. Working with Figures of Speech Theatre helped me feel comfortable with who I was through improvisation. It allowed my creativity to form without any barriers, and that has infected the rest of my life. Every time I start a new project it’s such an extensive amount of work, that I end up learning a great deal about myself which continuously helps me to understand how I can improve not only my films but how I go about producing them.

If you could change any part of your arts education, what would it be?

charlieI’d definitely go to a film school. Since my school is not a film school, I’ve been forced to learn a great deal of my craft on my own. And although this is one of the greatest things about my education, at the same time it would’ve been far quicker to learn from a professional as opposed to the trial and error method I’ve used for the past few years.

What’s the most creatively inspiring experience you remember?

While I was studying abroad in New Zealand for a semester, I directed a short film with a small crew of 12 people. The pre-production process was unbelievable as we had so much input and creative ideas flying around from everyone on the crew. We had an art director coming up with concept art and a story board artist constantly pumping out scene set-ups. It really was an exciting process to be a part of. Seeing all those ideas come together into one cohesive story was a pretty awesome experience.

Why is making art or music and/or performing so important to you? Why can’t you live without it?

It doesn’t feel like work to me. I enjoy it more than anything else. The fact that I’ll get to do something I love for the rest of my life is truly mind blowing. I can’t imagine what I’d do if I had to do any other job.

 THANK YOU Charlie for telling your story!

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Figures of Speech TEDxDirigo

January 20, 2012

Puppet as metaphor

Many of you are familiar with Figures of Speech, the puppeteers from Freeport. This is a brief explanation from their website to give you an idea of how much more they are then “just puppets”.

Figures of Speech Theatre incubates the creative energies of its artist members, catalyzes the creation of theater rooted in the expressive power of the puppet as a distillation of life forces, and challenges audiences to venture into realms that are mythic, larger-than-life, animated explorations of the numinous boundary world between being and becoming.

If you’ve had the chance to see them performing I am sure you’ll agree with me that they are fantastic. John and Carol Farrell started Figures of Speech, I think, 32 years ago. In September they contributed at the TEDxDirigo that was held in Maine and recently I was sent the link to their presentation that was about the”puppet as metaphor”.

Take a look at their presentation by clicking here and let us know what you think by posting a comment below.

Several years ago after returning from three weeks in Japan through the Fulbright Memorial Fund program Carol Farrell spent a week with my students creating puppets which we linked to a social studies/Language Arts unit on Immigration. It was a wonderful opportunity for my students to expand their thinking and for me as well.

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