Paul Zaloom (Los Angeles, USA)
Created, designed, and performed by Paul Zaloom
Writing, dramaturgy, puppet building, and stage and set design by Lynn Jeffries
Direction and additional writing by Randee Trabitz
Stage construction by Sandy Adams
Figure design and construction by Conrad Hartz
Zaloom opens a case that has been locked away for 50 years and pulls out a pristine ventriloquist dummy, Mr. Butch Manly. The old school “cheeky boy” figure, carved out of basswood in the classic style of legendary dummy maker Frank Marshall, has not seen the light of day since the 1963. Zaloom fills Mr. Manly in on the various social and political developments of the past six decades (gay marriage, an African American president, a female Secretary of State, etc.); the dummy’s reactions are not “politically correct,” to say the least. In the course of their interaction, Zaloom is forced to confront his own prejudices and biases, as the wickedly persistent and sarcastic wooden doll hammers the hapless puppeteer with attacks on his self-righteousness, liberal guilt, and hypocrisy.
The second half of the show, The Adventures of White-Man, is a toy theater spectacle about the male Caucasian human. Leaving his home planet of Caucazoid, White-Man arrives on Earth and “civilizes” it, becomes the philanthropist Santa Claus, kicks “aliens” out of Arizona, and finally realizes with shock that white folks will become a minority in the U.S. in 2040.
What will White-Man do?
The puppet cast is drawn from Zaloom’s collection of toy cars, action figures, dolls, wind-up toys, tchotchkes, weird junk, and more. The show is high-def video projected so that the audience can clearly see the tiny puppet mayhem.
“Paul Zaloom is a wildly creative, stupendously resourceful performance artist who turns what is essentially trash into a trenchant and hilarious puppet show.”
“A wildly funny puppeteer who is to junk what Itzhak Perlman is to the violin.”
“The wit and wacky whimsy of Zaloom’s found-object puppetry sustains one’s faith in the power of human imagination and childlike wonder. And in the snarky sting of satire. Zaloom’s genius is to animate the detritus of diurnal life into the forces and figures of cosmic and political drama.” – Village Voice.
This presentation was made possible with additional support from ArtPlace America,
the National Performance Network, and our partners at Next Stage Arts Project.