Clearing the Decks and Building Rafts is a one-week joint venture of the Words Progress Administration and Bonky Dolls Puppetry, “Clearing the Decks and Building Rafts” features puppetry, plays and other performances by David Higgins and his human and non-human friends. The variety of the week’s performances will range from puppet shows that are being retired to samples of new works. The title for the collected works comes from Higgins’s desire to say goodbye to some older works and say hello to some newer works. There will also be a workshop that maintains this spirit of duality running through the week called “D(ing)IY with Objects and/or Words” that will focus on the creation of solo puppet shows.
Here is the week-long schedule of events from this one residency:
Monday 6pm:
Clearing the Decks and Building Rafts, pt.1
Come on by and enjoy a short piece or two, play with a few puppet like objects, listen to the proposition for performance centered around the intersection of humans and the structures they live, work, and play in, get the skinny on the rest of the week, RSVP for the Pitch on Tuesday eve or the Invitational on Thursday eve (consider yourself invited to both), and grab a drink (either during or after TBD).
Tuesday 7pm:
The Providence Possibly Poetry Pitch
Unlike a slam, a poetry pitch is an evening of performed words that the writer or performer has the opportunity to ask a question of the audience. In exchange for pitching a poem into the mix, the audience is expected to pitch in some feedback after the readings. In this case, the Words Progress Administration seeks to expand this process to artists who have pieces that may be beyond that which they consider poetry.  Don’t wonder what that means. Be what that means. (But check with us Monday if you’re tempted. Thanks)
Cost: Donations Appreaciated
Wednesday 8pm:

Lighter Than Air, Heavier than Hades
Performances will include Baggage, a puppet show using the power of helium and rare earth elements and work-in-progress excerpts from Brandon Shaw’s upcoming dance epic, Orestes.
Cost: $8

Thursday 8pm:
The Premiere Puppetry Performance Invitational
Among other unknown elements, this evening will feature incredibly brand new works of puppetry by those participating in the workshop this week, people who respond by Monday to our open invitation, as well as performative responses to new work by local sculptor, Anna Shapiro. Interested in trying something out this evening? Come to the workshop or stop by Monday’s meet and greet.

Friday 8pm:
Blood From a Turnip
Just like a late night puppet salon, but it’s at eight.  Some highlights:
  • Allie Herryman’s new marionette treat, Little Lost Sheep.
  • Sammy Davis Therapy
  • a first time visitor to BFaT from the wilds of central Connecticut
  • a special surprise from Moira Brady, BFaT’s star ex-pat
Cost: $7
Saturday 8pm:
Clearing the Decks and Building Rafts, pt.6
A collection of short works consisting largely of, but not limited to, puppetry, including:
  • a living version of Rodin’s Gates of Hell
  • a reading of a play
  • further experiments in light and movement by David and Brandon.
Cost: $8
Workshop Description
DingIY with Objects And/Or Words
If you like the idea of the “it” in “DIY” being solo puppet shows, check out this workshop, which will focus on the two main elements of solo puppet show creation: the words and the objects. The words may never be spoken and the object may be your inspiration for your words or the response to your words. Each of these elements should be considered separately and together. Folks who have words that they feel might be served through the manipulation of objects and folks who have objects that seem suited to narrative presentation are encouraged to join. Folks who have either more concrete or nebulous inclinations are also encouraged to join. Folks coming from regions visual or textual are welcome.
Cost: FREE
This workshop will consist of 2 three hour sessions:
Session1: The Spirit Of the Object and By any Object Necessary; Tuesday 3-6pm
The first part of the session, the Spirit of the Object, will focus on listening to materials. We will play with a few wildly different puppet types and materials. We will also explore the basics of intention and discover the emotional potential of very simple objects. The second part of the first session will start with looking at puppetry from the writer’s starting point. Through hands-on exercises, we will expand the possibilities of how to express the writer’s words and consider the effects of these different expressions on the writing.
Session2: Working Towards Discomfort and Back Again; Thursday 3-6
The second session will start with everyone’s proposal for a performance and whatever they have created over the past two days as homework. After some supportive critique, participants will consider the elements needed to complete their shows and commence working on the element needed that is furthest from where they started. After cracking that nut (or at least figuring out how to crack it), you can race back to where you started, put together your show and, if you want, present it that night. You can also take some time and work out one piece of your opus a little more and present that if you want.