Squallis Puppeteers to Spotlight Louisville Civil Rights Activist’s Story | New
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Squallis puppeteers are a Louisville institution known for their oversized versions of people like Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, and Marie Antoinette. Their new project takes the story of local legend Anne Braden in a much smaller form.
“We ordered the smallest typewriter we could find on eBay which plays a big part in the piece as you can see,” said Isaac Fosl-van Wyke with Squallis Puppeteers.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, the group is hosting a virtual premiere of their new show “The Other America: An Anne Braden Story”. It tells the story of the Louisville civil rights activist and her struggle against housing segregation in Louisville in the 1950s.
“It’s not a widely known story, even here in Louisville, so we’re really excited to help our city remember this story,” said Fosl-van Wyke.
Streaming the show online is part of the pivot the arts organization had to do in 2020, adapting their normally live shows to a filmed format so they can be shared virtually.
“This is the first show we have developed with the very idea that it would be a virtual thing,” he said.
The team spent hundreds of hours producing the puppet show, including creating a “crankie,” which Fosl-van Wyke describes as a primitive form of animation.
“It’s an extremely long roll of paper that is rolled up, and then the images are shown gradually,” he said.
It is used with an overhead projector and shadow puppets to bring Braden’s memories to life.
“We have the present day with the tabletop puppet that is Anne near the end of her life,” he said.
With the Anne Braden story set over sixty years ago, Fosl-van Wyke hopes audiences can draw parallels by then.
“I feel a lot of hope and I’m trying to inject that into this show to find out how kids can connect with stories from the past and see how to approach issues of the present right now,” he said.
Because he knows exactly what Braden would do in Louisville today.
“I am sure she would be out there on the streets demanding justice for Breonna Taylor and I hope that viewers and listeners can discover their own role in this fight,” he said.
The show is suggested for ages 9 and up. A live screening of the show will take place on March 19 and registration is required. This can be done on Squallis social networks. The entire show will be available on YouTube and Facebook until Sunday, March 2. Donations will also be accepted.
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