I’ve always been entranced by shadows — the magical play of light on the walls in the morning and eerie shapes that your own body throws as you walk on the beach or sidewalk.
I wasn’t aware that there was a traditional form of shadow puppetry performed throughout Asia until I saw the Zhang Yimou movie TO LIVE in which one of the main characters is a shadow master (this is a great film BTW).
The shadow puppet scenes were so hypnotizing that when I was struggling with how to visualize epic historic scenes in FINDING KUKAN in an economical way, the idea of using shadow puppets came up for me. I started hunting on the web for people who performed shadow puppetry, and when I came across Larry Reed & Shadowlight Productions’ THE WILD PARTY, I was really blown away.
This was not the land of your grandmother’s shadow puppets anymore. Live actors, contemporary scenes, and shifting perspective lent a new dynamism to the production that I instinctively felt would be perfect for what I wanted to do in FINDING KUKAN.
Happily Larry was excited about my project and has agreed to collaborate with me on FINDING KUKAN. Larry Reed is truly a shadow master, having studied and performed traditional Balinese shadow puppetry for over 35 years. In the early 1990’s, Reed invented an ingenious shadow casting method, which integrates the traditional shadow theatre techniques, cinematic effects and modern theatre and dance styles. Watch for a sample of Shadowlight’s innovative work from THE GOOD-FOR-NOTHING LOVER in the new FINDING KUKAN teaser that will premiere next week.
Have ideas for cool ways of using shadows? Please let me hear from you.