Day 3: For Today, It’s OK!

Newtown Creek Celebration Youth Create Alternate Ending To Puppet ShowBy Sherry Teitelbaum

Day 3 was four sessions of paper mâché! Inspired by Kevin’s new mantra, “For today, it’s OK, to be gloppy and gross, all day,” almost eighty young people dipped their fingers into Heather’s special cornstarch and warm water mix and stroked, stroked, stroked until their pieces of torn paper bags adhered smoothly to the cardboard bases of their puppets. Young people were delighted to greet old cardboard friends that they recognized from yesterday’s puppet shows (beaver faces, beaver paddle tails, gull wings, gull bodies, houses) as well as to meet new cardboard pieces that were inspired by the work that the 4th and 5th graders did at yesterday’s Town Budget Meeting (hamburgers, dollar signs, nickels and dimes, wind turbines, trees). High points of the paper mâché sessions were when one girl taught Sherry a call and response song as they worked together on a puppet and the spontaneous creation of a “paper factory” so that children who were bored or needed a change from the gloppy texture could keep the group puppet-making machine going by shredding paper bags at a fast, crisp tempo. Before we moved to the paper mâché work tables, we started each session seated in a circle on the floor so that Kevin could check in with each group to find out what they remembered from Day 2. I was quite moved when one child talked about “a tree that couldn’t breathe any longer and had started to lose its leaves.”
Popsicle Stick Tree Losing Leaves
The challenge for this year’s project is to find active, visual ways to explore and represent neighborhood change – as well as how to balance competing agendas for change. Yesterday’s stick puppet show – which showed a neighborhood in flux growing more and more crowded – clearly started third graders thinking about these issues.

What’s It All About?

Newtown Creek Celebration: Puppet Parade and Pageant
Newtown Creek Celebration Tides of Change Poster
is a free, ten-session theater and puppetry project for over 80 young people enrolled in North Brooklyn Development Corporation’s Summer Day Camp. Over the course of ten days, we work with youth to create an original puppet parade and pageant that explores issues relating to the pollution of Newtown Creek and the effect pollution has on the surrounding Greenpoint community. Each day, Heather, Sherry and I see four different groups of approximately 20 youth participants ranging in age from 5 to 11. During our session time, we work toward building puppets with the youth, then putting the puppets into the young peoples’ hands to devise an original show.

Come and see our show!

If you would like to attend our free performance. Visit our Facebook Event page by clicking here. Let us know you are coming or post an encouraging comment on our event page. We hope to see you there.

Make a Donation Today!

Our crowd funding campaign is off to a great start!
Thank you so much to everyone who has already contributed. We are offering lots of different perks to folks who support the project including our 2013 poster, photos of the culminating event, or a puppet from the show to take home! If you would like to make a donation, click on the widget to the right or click here. If you want to support the project but can’t make a financial contribution, there are other ways to help out!

This event is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, both administered in Kings County by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).

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