Automata is a Los Angeles based organization committed to the creation, presentation, and preservation of puppet and object theater, experimental film, pre-cinematic attractions, and other lost or neglected forms. Automata’s interests are centered in the intersection of objects and performance, artifacts and ephemera, magic and mechanics, artifice and interface. Formed in 2004 by artists Susan Simpson and Janie Geiser, Automata presents intimate performances of original work, film screenings of contemporary and historical work, lectures, and exhibitions in a variety of public and private spaces in the Los Angeles area. The Manual Archives is a project of Automata.

Frankenstein: Mortal Toys, written by Eric Ehn, Directed by Susan Simpson and Janie Geiser, Velaslavasay Panorama, Los Angeles 2006

Automata's Frankenstein (Mortal Toys) is returning to The Velaslavasay Panorama!

December 13-16, 2008 tickets and info at

and then HERE Art Center in New York in Januray 8- 20, 2008

Frankenstein( Mortal Toys) is a miniature spectacle created by Los Angeles artists
Susan Simpson and Janie Geiser (who co-direct and co-design), based on renowned playwright Erik Ehn’s distilled adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel. Frankenstein (Mortal Toys) follows the haunted journey of Victor Frankenstein and his startling emotional monster. The menacing beauty of the arctic and the high Alps surround the distraught scientist as he confronts the loneliness and rage of his alienated creature. Frankenstein (Mortal Toys) is performed within a small proscenium frame using puppets based on 18th Century American portrait paintings, and lush sets inspired by Romantic era landscape painting. Projected film and shadow puppets emerge from this central set to provide windows into the souls of the man and his monster. Frankenstein (Mortal Toys) reveals an uncanny world of melancholy, loss, and existential longing.

Frankenstein: Mortal Toys features Severin Behnen’s hypnotic live score for piano, accordion, organ and violin. Performers include Chris Payne, Dana Wilson, Eli Presser, Sarah Brown, Susan Simpson and Janie Geiser. Lighting Design is by John Eckert and Jeanette Yew, and shadow puppets were created by Leah Chun.