Daughters of the Moon: A Puppet Story is a paper puppet re-telling of Italo Calvino’s 1968 short story “Daughters of the Moon.” The story is about a world, very much like our own, where everything and everyone is shiny and new. The only anomaly in this perfect world is the old, dying Moon in the sky. This Moon is so ugly that the authorities decide to throw it away among the other broken, old, unfashionable goods—and people—at the junkyard. Thankfully, the Daughters of the Moon come to the rescue! They send the poor Moon into the sea, where it reemerges as a beautifully queer New Moon. Calvino’s story is a folktale for 1960s Europe, a postmodern critique of capitalism and consumerism that troubles the fable’s conventional moralizing tone. My piece embraces a nostalgia for this allegorical critique coming out of the 60s. Today, how can we use Calvino’s critique of consumerism—represented by the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, for instance—to discover how consumerism has insidiously laid claim to our governments, communities, and identities? In remounting Calvino’s allegory, I hope to remind viewers that mythological beauty can indeed exist within pointed political critique.
My version of Daughters of the Moon will combine storytelling, collage-like puppets, and live instrumental music. The work will consist of three miniature scenes set on tables: “New York City” made of cardboard, toothbrushes, and magazine advertisements; “Central Park” with a large mirror pond and paper shrubbery, and a “Junkyard” filled with old paper cars, life magazines, and other debris. These scenes will provide a literal background for the Moon and his daughters. A gender neutral narrator, Qfwfq, gives voice to the story, moving from scene to scene, illuminating them, and animating the two-dimensional puppets. With a live sound score by violinist, Julia Danitz, the performance will be a dreamy rumination on folklore, a nostalgic glimpse into 60s capitalist critique, and an exploration of the potency of miniature puppetry.
Puppets/Direction: Anna Lublina
Music Composition and Performance:
Performed by: Lim Mui, Elena Rose Light, Jo Stewart
May 12-13, 2018: Vital Joint (NYC)