Saturday, May 3, 2008

Christine Wertheim's


quoi is a dramatic exploration of the relationship between sound,
body, sense and voice, performed with two sock-puppets, seven jellyfish, one
blasted tree, two space-capsules and a balloon on a stick called
Nigel. May 3rd is its world premiere.

Christine Wertheim teaches feminisms, writing and theories of art at
the California Institute of the Arts. Her books are Seance (Make Now
Press, 2006), The Noulipian Analects (Les Figues Press, 2007,
co-edited with Matias Viegener), and +|'me'S-pace (Les Figues Press,
2007), a book of poetics. quoi is her dramatic debut.

Saturday, May 3rd
8PM and 9:30PM


April 11-13th, 2008

Guest Artist Peter Yates presented:


A solo puppet opera about creative impulses, compost, building codes and reincarnation.

Based on historical events, the work traces the lives of Simon Rodia – builder of the Watts Towers, reviled by bureaucrats as a hoarder of garbage, hailed by artists and scientists as a man of genius – and Tressa Prisbrey, who in order to shelter her collection of 17,000 pencils, built houses of bottles in her backyard, each with a unique pattern of shapes and colors, all glowing with the sun.

The inspired, lonely efforts of these brilliant folk artists propel a comic tale which slyly comments on our longings and aspirations, and the mixed receptions which they receive in the workaday worlds of the societies we live in. In celebration of the two artists’ obsessive visions, all media – music, theater, puppetry, painting, sculpture, poetry, photograpy – are put to use in this equally driven, layered opera of ideas.

Armed not only with various musical accomplishments, but also with the skills of furniture maker whose designs are as singular as his musical ones. The exuberant glee and energy with which he performed were like what me might get if Mozart came back and gave a one-man performance of The Marriage of Figaro by moonlight for a few friends. – LA Reader

Peter Yates is a composer and a guitarist. His work with the Elgart-Yates Guitar Duo, formed in 1975, includes recordings, duo-compositions, frequent performances in the U.S. and Europe, over one hundred premieres, and the publication of a book on prepared guitar. His compositions include two puppet operas, Radio Rodia and Motherlode about a gold rush ghost town in the Eastern Sierra. His comic-book oratorio, The Egg and the Seed, developed a new musical form using narrative graphics with sung text blocks and speech-balloons. His work has been supported by the California Arts Council, Meet the Composer, The Swiss Helvetica Fund, NEA Consortium Commissioning, and Italian and Mexican State Radio. He is on the faculties of music at Cal Poly Pomona and UCLA.


March 6-22, 2008

Concrete Folk Variations

Chapter 1: Death of a Sugar Daddy

Life is bitter when the cop shop shuts down the candy store.

Written and Directed by Susan Simpson

Performed by Katie Shook, Beth Peterson and DanRae Wilson, J.P. Parr, Moira McDonald and Susan Simpson

Music by Marc Amoroso

Concrete Folk Variations is an epic urban folk tale et in the lesbian bars, cop shops and street carsof McCarthy Era L.A., A serial puppet drama that will be presented on a regular basis here at the Manual Archives. Look for new episodes in July 2008


November 17,18th , 2007


By Beth Peterson and One Grain of Sand Puppet Theater

Ironman is a tiny but mighty folk puppet show that explored the extraordinary life of San Fernando Valley’s Ironman, Ambrose Meyer: welder, horseshoe sculptor, and obsessive gardener of eccentric cacti.

Performed by: Jonathon Alvarez, Sibyl O’Malley and Ezra Peterson Behnen

Music by: Severin Behnen

*Further musical entertainment by:


Pictures of the work of the Ironman, Ambrose Meyer


Saturday, September 29, 8PM

Sunday, October 7, 8PM

Leonard Cohen Opens the Sky

Folksinger Emily Lacy leads an interpretation of the works of Leonard
Cohen through performance, song, and image. Ms. Lacy will explore the
character of Cohen through a site-specific musical experiment within
the magically tiny, chapel-like theater of the Manual Archives. This
strand of theater represents the first of such work for the artist,
and comes after the recent completion of her 4th homemade album
"newsworthy new york tapes".


Friday, September 28th, 2007

The Little Fakers fondly presented a sneak preview of


SUNSET CHRONICLES is a serial drama set on the eastern edge of Sunset Boulevard, with a cast consisting entirely of handmade marionettes. In each episode a band of hardy souls navigates an otherworldly Los Angeles, an uncanny cityscape of abandoned buildings, forgotten histories and real and surreal possibilities. Any resemblance between the puppets and actual Los Angeles residents is purely intentional. All episodes are self-contained -- tune in today! EPISODE 5: There's a drought on and our friends down on Sunset Boulevard are feeling more than a bit parched in this new climate of heat and thirst. Can Los Angeles and its puppet inhabitants live without water? What kinds of delirium, mirages and cosmic wanderings ensue when the cityscape becomes a desert? In our own heat-inflected late-summer delirium, the Little Fakers have decided this would be a good time for a Rock Opera, so that's what you'll get when you visit "Sunset Chronicles" at the ! Manual A rchives. Live Music. Singing Puppets.

THE LITTLE FAKERS is a collective of experimental puppet theater artists, sound artists, and writers working in the LA area. For the past three years they have performed their marionette serial The Noah Purifoy Art Environment, Beta Level, Il Coral and the Velaslavasay Panorama.

Episode 5 in its rock operatic entirety will be presented at The Velaslavasay Panorama in February — but in the meantime this sneak preview will pique your fancy for the adventures to come!

Live music by Gemmelica & Marshweed to follow each show!

Gemmelica & Marshweed play old songs and make up new ones on the viola, contrabass, banjo, and accordion.

Showtimes: 8PM, 9PM, and 10PM


June 7-30, 2007

Lead Feet and Nothing Upstairs:

A History of the Lifelike

"Lead Feet and Nothing Upstairs: A History of the Lifelike, a piece that radicalizes and reinvents the notion of puppet theater" F. Kathleen Foley
Los Angeles Times

An original puppet play by Susan Simpson tracing the footsteps of The Ditto Sisters, identical triplet troubadors who enter the city of Los Angeles and set off a wave of architectural and perhaps human replication. A creation myth for our city, in which characters multiply and contract, and generations of artificial bodies mimic and interact with one another.

Written and Directed by Susan Simpson

Original Music by Emily Lacy and Eric Lindley

Costume Design by Sarah Brown

Lighting Design by Kristy Baltezore

Scenic Design by Susan Simpson and Alison Heimstead

Featuring Marsian De Lellis, Jackie Kay, Katie Shook, Kendra Ware. and Anne Yatco