Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Independent Eye

From "The Descent of the Goddess Inanna" (2008)

I wanted to introduce two extraordinary people who have been a mythic team for over 45 years, Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller, the Independent Eye.  Actors, playwrights, directors, singers, composers, and master puppeteers, they have had an extraordinary career.  I take the liberty of sharing here a brief video excerpt from their website, and have copied below their most recent newsletter.  Thank you, Conrad and Elizabeth, for inspiring and teaching me!

The Independent Eye                            
March 1, 2012                                                
In Perpetual Spring...
Mistrusting Paradise?
     Our plum trees and feral cats are confused.  Our wall furnace is asking questions.  It's dry shirt-sleeve weather in February, when in Sebastopol it should be rainy and chill.  What gives?
     Well, can't help but think "climate change" and expect the worst for the human race.  And with the rumbles of election time, it's hard to frolic out into the spring.
     But let us not hold back from stepping out into the day, breathing in the air, and saying "Ye gods, what a gorgeous day!"  We need those in-drawn praises of life to hold through the dark times.  More and more, I hold the irrational thought that we have to feel the spring before it's willing to come.
     Our reading and performance tour of Co-Creation continues on.  See the calendar to the right, and join us.  Email us about hosting us in your living room, coffee house, arts center, gallery, or wherever you can assemble fifteen friends. Late June in Denver/Boulder, late summer or early fall in the Midwest and East, most any time in the greater Bay Area.
Our Duo Show...
     First draft is finished, and we start rehearsals this week.  First showings late summer.  It might even have a title by then.  Several old pieces are incorporated in it, including "Freeway," which has reappeared in several shows, but now revisited in a new context.  More as we go.
Strange Evolution...
     How things catch fire.  In 2003 I created a solo story-telling show, Survival Tips for the Plague Years.  I played a couple of performances in Sebastopol, adapted it to radio, then canned it.  It seemed to have strong audience response, maybe too strong: several friends found it highly depressing, especially one story, "Galahad's Fool."  For all practical purposes, it was dead meat.
     Recently, a friend who makes puppet films sent me a first-draft script for comment.  It was on the theme of St. Joan, and as a framing device he used a filmmaker struggling to cope with that theme.  Later, he went a different direction, but the spark struck.  Now, I'm launched into work on a novel about an artist wrestling with a Sir Galahad journey, both of them on their quests for the Holy Grail, whatever they conceive it to be.  Damned thing about novels:  there are so many words. 
     Sometimes an idea lies fallow until someone empties the slop bucket, and suddenly it's the magic catalyst.  Right now what's emerging is a big, messy tsunami, but a very personal one.  We'll see.
At Play...
     Our daughter Johanna and her mate have just bought a 14th Century stone mill house in Tuscany, and now launched into the process of making it their own.  Our son is beginning work illustrating  a fantasy graphic novel to be serialized on the Web. 
     We gave readings of Co-Creation this month for the San Francisco Bay Area Puppeteers Guild and the Sonoma County Pagan Network — diverse audiences indeed — and performed short sketches for a local Valentine's "Love Salon" cabaret and for Arcata Playhouse in Professor Willikers’ Puppet Slam, a thorougly jovial affair.
     We're not wild social beings, but gradually we've evolved a bit more contact with the rest of humanity.  We attend a periodic poetry salon and Shakespeare reading group, quarterly meetings of the SF Bay Puppetry Guild, a small full moon circle, Sunday morning coffee at Hard Core Espresso, and recently lots of friends' parties, which have resulted in both of us gaining five pounds, despite faithful trips to the gym.  Life is good.
Peace and joy—
Conrad Bishop
Featured this Month...
{with a bonus}
Descent of the Goddess Inanna—
A full-length DVD of our 2007 staging.
The Queen of Heaven and Earth begins a fateful descent to meet her sister, Queen of the Underworld, as a New Jersey wedding photographer finds her images turning into nightmares. Based on 5,000-year-old Sumerian myths, this dramatic revisioning features compelling music, masks & puppets, and the dazzling richness, humor and erotic imagery of the ancient texts.  It's $16.95 plus shipping.  Order through our website.
* * *
Bonus:  Order Inanna this month through our website and receive a free 72-minute CD of Diana's Gifts — six of our favorite audio-dramas, the most "visual" of all our dramatic work.
Upcoming Gigs...
Concert Readings of Co-Creation—
Saturday, March 3
7:00 pm
House Concert - Los Angeles, CA
Email for invitation.
Sunday, March 4
2:00 pm
House Concert - Long Beach, CA
Email for invitation.
Friday, March 5
8:00 pm
House Concert - Van Nuys, CA
Email for invitation.
Saturday, March 10
6:45 pm
House Concert - Menlo Park, CA
Email for invitation.
Monday, March 12
7:00 pm
Arcata Playhouse - Arcata, CA
Thursday, April 5
7:00 pm
Pegasus Theater, Monte Rio, CA
Thursday, April 12
7:00 pm
The Imaginists, Santa Rosa, CA
Wednesday, April 18
7:00 pm
Main Stage West, Sebastopol, CA
— more to come —
[Email us for info on hosting a reading]
performing a short sketch as part of
An Evening of Puppet Obsession
6:00 pm, Sunday, April 1st
The Garage, 975 Howard St., SF
Enter the Labyrinth...
     ... of our website.  Many treasures.  To mention a few:
  • All 92 episodes of our radio series Hitchhiking off the Map for free listening (See "Media").
  • Full scripts of 29 of our original plays for free online reading (See "Print").
  • Photos, reviews, video samplers, and a chronicle of 38 years of work (See "Stage/Chronicle").
  • Our library of play anthologies, CDs and DVDs for sale (See "Media" and "Print").
     Much else besides.  START HERE.
Quote of the month...
From Co-Creation...
Great demands require great patience.  In a rehearsal, you learn gradually that the sudden breakthrough, the perfect solution, that moment of blinding truth won’t necessarily come today.  Maybe it won’t come tomorrow or till you’re halfway through the run of the show.  You push as far as you can, and then you lie back and wait.  Sow seeds and wait for the sprouting.  Truth, oneness, trust — they likely won’t come as lightning bolts.  As the Christ-like space alien teaches in Stranger in a Strange Land, “Waiting is.”  Meanwhile, celebrate.
Visit our website for four decades of photos, playscripts, radio shows and chronicles of life, plus a catalog of our published books, CDs and DVDs.

The Independent Eye - 502 Pleasant Hill Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472
Copyright 2012 The Independent Eye.  All rights reserved.

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