Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Flight: A Crane's Story

Ibex Puppetry, founded by Heather Henson, presented Flight: A Crane's Story at this year's Fringe in the orange venue which is the largest in the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center. The show Explored nature's deepest mysteries and the spiritual essence of life on Earth through the story a crane names Awaken. After human interference affected their environment, Awaken's family left on migration without her. The young crane friend had to learn to fly and navigate to find her family and her destiny.

I had quite a challenge sketching the show since the house lights went dark for most of the show so I couldn't see the page. Also there was nonstop action with kites constantly on the move. I focused my attention on the young crane most of the time ignoring the immense kites. Awaken was first shown as an egg just beginning to hatch. The indigenous North America music was performed live at house left. The woman sang beautifully while the other performer beat the drum. Awaken grew up through a series of puppets. By the end of the show there was a huge crane that would be worthy of being featured in the Macy's Day parade. I kind of wish I had waited to catch that huge apparition, but I was already committed to the sketch I was working on.

The kites were amazing, swooping down to within inches of the audience before sweeping back up into flight. Costuming was also amazing with some performers wearing costumes that made their arms like huge wings. Movies were projected on the circular screen at the back of the stage offering views of sunsets and the intricate courting dance of the cranes. I would love to see the show again, so that I could focus on some of the truly stellar moments that slipped past me as I rushed to complete the sketch. I envied the others in the audience who could simply relax and enjoy the moment without the obsessive need to capture the moment on a page. This was an amazing show and Orlando is fortunate to have Heather Henson as a unique local artist and entertainer.

The International Crane Foundation is committed to a future where all crane species are secure; a future where people cooperate to protect and restore wild populations and their ecosystems. 

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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