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Moments

Premiere September 1986
Venue Castlemaine Festival

puppet figure hanging by arms swinging on a wire

The Baby


(Click photos to enlarge)

Youth waving in triumph balanced on centre of seesaw

Five Year-Old

Puppet figure of old woman stretching from rocking chair to letter box

The Old Woman
waiting for mail

Puppet figure of an old woman sitting alone in rocking chair

The Old Woman alone

Photographs: © Helen Madden, 1986


balance is used as a metaphor to illustrate events that occur in the beginning, during and at the end of a person's life cycle

Program note: Tianjin Sister Cities Arts Festival, 1990



MOMENTS was created by Michele Spooner with Avril McQueen in 1986.

These short, non-verbal vignettes portrayed brief 'moments' through the cycle of a woman's life with miniature bunraku puppet figures.

In 1985, Michele studied with Phillipe Genty in a 9-week Masterclass at the Institut Internationale de la Marionette in Charlesville-Mézières in France. The experience deepened her fascination with puppetry techniques and manipulation, and developed her skills in creating performances based on gestural observation.

MOMENTS continued Michele's engagement with Genty's philosophies and concepts. The piece grew from her first vignette, Positive Equals, which expressed the gestures and movements of babyhood. This act had been developed with Peter J.Wilson under Genty's tutelage and was the stimulus of their vignette production Smalls.

MOMENTS vignettes observed a woman at difference ages, Each brief segment was portrayed in beautifully executed puppet manipulation segments that expressed glimpses of a lifetime. Hooded and shadowy puppeteers shared operation of the small white figures in a subtle interaction that explored the relationship between subject and manipulator and created the mood of each moment.

Moments uses tiny Bunraku puppets on a table top image life's beginnings, adulthood and pathetic end - pathos, poetry and comedy beautifully encapsulated in a miniaturist masterpiece

Veronica Kelly, Antnews, Melbourne 1990


Acts were titled:

*The Baby,
*The Five Year Old
* The Sixteen Year Old
* The Mature Woman
*The Old Woman


MOMENTS was presented by Handspan as part of the Smalls program from 1986

Moments added poignancy (and a disturbing feel) to the intriguing balance of the programme.

Geoffrey Milne, Centrestage, December, 1986
::


Segments were later included in Women Alone (1989). and some appeared in showcase productions performed by students in the Victorian College of the Arts Puppetry Program (2004 - 2009).


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Creative team
Devised & designed by Michele Spooner
Directorial assistance Peter J.Wilson
Puppet maker Michele Spooner
Composer Gavan Dunn with Eric Gradman

Performers
Original cast Michele Spooner
Avril McQueen
Andrew Hansen
Also performed by Annie Wylie & Katy Bowman

Seasons
September, 1986 Castlemaine Festival, Victoria
March, 1990 Lion Arts Centre, Adelaide Fringe Festival, South Australia



Vignettes: