Manual Cinema: Lula Del Ray | The Long Center for the Performing Arts

Not-Your-Average Puppet Show – The Quirky Minds of Manual Cinema Give Us ‘Live Film’

So, what’s Manual Cinema all about? Originally hailing from the University of Chicago, this group of like-minded artists combine handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, and innovative sound and music to create immersive visual stories for stage and screen. Literally—the beauty of Manual Cinema’s work is that you can watch the performers on stage and the performance on screen, simultaneously. Bet you didn’t know what your high school overhead projectors were capable of. September 13 & 14, this troupe brings their coming-of-age story Lula Del Ray to our Rollins Studio Theatre.

Manual Cinema: Lula Del Ray | the Long Center for the Performing Arts

But who are the quirky minds behind Manual Cinema’s spectral mystique?

Manual Cinema calls themselves a “performance collective,” which totally makes sense when one adds all the elements of their live performance together. “Film,” “theatre,” and “live music” just don’t cut it. With overhead projectors, multiple screens, puppets, actors, live feed cameras, multi-channel sound design, and a live music ensemble, the members of Manual Cinema work together LIVE to produce enchanting tales with captivating images, right in front of your eyes.

Manual Cinema: Lula Del Ray | The Long Center for the Performing Arts

Manual Cinema collective–a group of five artist directors who created “Ada/Ava,” a shadow puppetry show now at 3LD Art & Technology Center in Manhattan. From left, Kyle Vegter, Julia Miller,Ben Kauffman, Sarah Fornace, Drew Dir.
Danny Ghitis for The New York Times

This is a serious group of puppeteers, narrative specialists, dramaturges, multimedia artists, printmakers, composers, art movement experts, interactive media artists—the list goes on and on of funky individuals with a rabbit hole of impressive credentials.

Not to mention the fact that this troupe’s performance history is a veritable Who’s Who of the off-beat festival circuit and high-profile museums, including NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Under the Radar Festival, The Detroit Institute of Art, the NYC and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, the Chicago International Music and Movies Festival, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Noorderzon Festival of the Netherlands, and other events and places around the world.

You probably get the point that this is not-your-average puppet show. This group of artists was once ensemble-in-residence at University of Chicago and now travels the globe with their five original cinematic shows—of which Lula Del Ray is one!—and other contemporary and custom creations. And if you need to see it to believe it, we’ve got you covered right here.

Manual Cinema is in town for two days presenting three performances of Lula Del Ray. Get your front row seat and see the rest of Lula’s journey September 13 & 14!

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