With opening night just over a week away, the cast and crew of Burt Dow Deep Water Man are hard at work. Yesterday, I joined sculptor, Michael Stasiuk, who is creating amazing props for the performance, to help paint the puppets for the show.
Like much of the performance, the creation of the props is a truly collaborative effort between people from away, local students, volunteers, and staff. Students in a Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School art class helped to make the puppets, designed by Michael Stasiuk. Under the direction of Mr. Stasiuk, a team of volunteers is helping to paint and decorate the giant sea-creatures that will share the stage with the human stars of Burt Dow Deep Water Man.
The puppets are being painted in the old Stonington Elementary School with a little help from the soothing guitar music sounding from the boom box. With some masking tape, several cans of paint, and a little help from Martha Stewart (or rather, her glitter), the amazing creatures are taking shape. Mr. Stasiuk mixed paints to capture some of the vibrant and often times clashing, yet miraculously working together colors, in the book by Robert McCloskey (the colors of the whales were described by one volunteer as “just like the colors I wore in the 80s!”).
We antiqued chickens and painted a giant octopus (just to name a few!), helped by the performance’s director and stage manager. After the puppets are initially primed in a solid color, Mr. Stasiuk and the volunteers are using paintbrushes and pieces of foam pillows to color and shade the props, sponging color on top of color, and sprinkling with glitter.
To see these fantastic props in person, buy your tickets to Burt Dow Deep Water Man! As someone who has been fortunate enough to catch a sneak-peek, let me tell you, the stuck-in-your-head-while-you-walk-around-the-house-singing tunes are not to be missed!