A Theater of Trash

Workshop participants are asked to bring a minimum of six objects each—toys, appliances, packaging materials, tools, and other ordinary or extraordinary rubbish—to the workshop. Zaloom opens with a short discussion of object theater and then invites each person (and if there is time, teams) to operate the assembled junk as puppets and environments in improvised performance experiments.

Between these happenings, the group discusses what took place, why, and to what effect. Other subjects explored include improvisation, free association, humor, child's play as artistic process, the nature of objects, and puppetry in general.

Technical needs: two (2) six or eight foot long tables (AKA banquet tables), one (1) card table, and at least 50 objects beyond what participants bring. These objects could include: a toaster and any other appliances, toy gun(s), plastic flowers, dolls, tools (such as hammer, wrench, etc.), various toys, an iron, hats, a phone or two....the more the merrier.

Cantastoria, or Story Telling with Pictures

Also known as "bankelsang" (Germany), "etoki" (Japan), and "wayang beber" (Indonesia), cantastoria (Italy) is an ancient art form of singing or narrating a story while gesturing to accompanying images (drawings, paintings, PowerPoint presentations, prints, etc.). Participants will create stories and then generate accompanying images in the class, ending with informal performances. Can be from 2 two-hour classes to one-week workshops.

Science Education and Entertainment: Edutainment?

In this workshop designed for both science and general education teachers, we explore unconventional ways to teach scientific principles, finding the common ground between science, art and comedy. Zaloom shows teachers some fun and easy to do, hands on science demonstrations that involve student participation and lots of humor.

Master Class

Zaloom narrates the arc of his career as a puppeteer, writer, and actor, showing excerpts from his time with the Bread and Puppet Theater; his own solo puppet shows; the TV show Beakman's World; and two films he co-created (Dante's Inferno and In Smog and Thunder). The workshop concentrates on contemporary puppetry and its relationship to performance art as well as the improvisational nature of work creation that Zaloom employs when making new shows.

Comic Monologues

Each participant brings one original, work-in-progress, 5-minute comic monologue to the first session. In the course of six to nine 90-minute classes, we will collectively evaluate the monologues, discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and help the creators hone the writing. Participants contribute ideas and free associate in a collective creative process.

Then the performance of each monologue is worked on in detail as we begin to seriously rehearse. Zaloom will direct the performers, teaching the participants how to develop comedic timing, use the face and body, and other old but good tricks. At the end of the process, participants will informally perform their shows; we will then do a post mortem on the entire experience.

Comedic Puppetry

Participants bring 3 to 6 minutes long comedic puppet shows that are in the early stages of development. At first, we all work together evaluating the potential direction and voice of the pieces. Then individuals go off and work alone or in pairs, helping each other bring shape to their work. Zaloom goes from show to show, giving input, encouraging improvisation, and creating a frame for the pieces. This workshop will end in a performance and post show analysis.



PREVIOUS WORK: Zaloom has led workshops in puppetry, solo performance, and cantastoria (story telling with pictures) in schools and universities, including: Rhode Island School of Design, O'Neill Theater Center, Emerson College, Cal Arts, Omega Institute, George Mason U., Union College, Institut Internationale de la Marrionnette (Charlesville-Meziers, France), School of Visual Arts (NYC), Hamilton College, Center for Puppetry Arts (Atlanta, GA), and a maximum security prison for girls in Anchorage, Alaska.

PARTICIPANTS: Actors, puppeteers, artists, high school and college students, teachers, and anyone else interested in performance or creative process. The formats of the workshops are very flexible and can be tailored to the needs of any group.

DURATION: from two hours to three weeks. Most classes can accommodate up to 25 people, can be held almost anywhere, and have minimal technical needs.