Published in the Hanford Sentinel Newspaper November 27, 2020
Over the summer, Hanford Multicultural Theater Company was awarded an Arts and Accessibility Grant from the California Arts Council and the National Arts and Disability Center. The grant supported a project that promotes the inclusion of our challenged population in the artistic world.
At 7 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 29, the project will be available on HMTC’s YouTube channel. See "Don’t Just Look," a puppet show on film, the grant supported project.
"Don't Just Look" is a puppet show for all ages. It is a social awareness story featuring Huey, the chicken puppet, and his friend Louee, the physically challenged turtle puppet. A slice of life puppet play with a Good Samaritan concept. Also, embedded on the film is closed captions and sign language interpreters.
Mark Saltzman, from Kiwuppit Studios and on staff with HMTC, workshopped and trained the main puppeteers for the show. The plan was to perform the show at the theater. However, it needed to be re-imagined with safety in mind during the pandemic. The plus on this, is that this allowed HMTC to explore the project as a film. This film experience has been positive and HMTC is considering additional film projects.
Ricardo Sierra and Christopher De la Rosa are the puppeteer leads. Their gusto in working under restrictive conditions is admirable. Auxiliary characters were performed by Charlotte Young, John Young, and Josh Gilles. Omar Pimentel was engaged to do his multiple voices talent. Vizual Voice assisted in sign interpretation with local signers Sean Hopper and Alex Stimpson.
Restrictions thwarted the usual rehearsal process with this project. Nonetheless, HMTC took the challenge, followed guidelines, and kept in contact with NADC representative to stay the course to a final production with safety. In addition, a successful rehearsal enticed me to bring out the podcast equipment and ten-foot corded microphones. We discussed the restrictive rehearsal process, and how the pandemic restrictions affects all artists. This audio can be accessed on our HMTC Behind the Scenes Podcast.
All in all, challenges make completion of a project all the more satisfying.
“This activity was supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Arts and Disability Center at the University of California Los Angeles.”