A Harlot's Progress, the latest piece by award-winning puppet artist Theodora Skipitares, opens May 14 at The Performing Garage in New York, for a run through May 31.
Progress features more than 50 life-sized carved bas-relief puppets, based on photocopied blow-ups of Hogarth's engraved characters. Singers, musicians and dancing puppeteers combine with slide and video projections to create animated characters who come to life and help to tell the story.
A Harlot's Progress translates 18th century British satirist William Hogarth's cynical indictment of class structure and morality into a powerful metaphor for the present. Hogarth's paintings and engravings present dramatic narratives within the raw, gritty landscape of London. A Harlot's Progress, based on his engraving series of the same name, follows the rise and fall of heroine Moll Hackabout as she makes her way through a world determined to seduce her into a life of prostitution and poverty.
A Harlot's Progress is designed and directed by Skipitares and features music by Barry Greenhut. Skipitares has been creating large scale theater works with puppets for 17 years. Her previous work includes The Age of Invention, Defenders of the Code and, most recently, Under the Knife at La MaMa. Her works have been produced throughout the US, Europe and Asia, and she has received numerous grants and awards, including Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellowships, six NEA grants, and a UNIMA Citation for Excellence in Puppetry.
The Performing Garage is the home of legendary avant-garde troupe, The Wooster Group. A Harlot's Progress is part of The Performing Garage Visiting Artist Series and is funded by The Wooster Group with support from the New York State Council on the Arts. Skipitares' A Harlot's Progress runs May 14-31, at The Performing Garage, 33 Wooster Street. Tickets are $15, for reservations call (212) 966-3951.
-- By Sean McGrath