Outdoor puppetry projection performance will tell a Detroit building's life story

Left to right: Torri Ashford, James Abbott, Dave Sanders, and Madelyn Etzcorn. - Photo courtesy Interstate Arts
Photo courtesy Interstate Arts
Left to right: Torri Ashford, James Abbott, Dave Sanders, and Madelyn Etzcorn.

When walking around the city, have you ever wondered how many stories an individual building could tell?

That’s the idea behind an outdoor multimedia puppetry performance piece scheduled for next week called Good Bones. It’s told via light and shadow projection on a wall ... sort of like a drive-in movie — without the cars.

It takes place at a historic Detroit building called the Sophie Wright Settlement House. Over the years, it has had many identities, including neighborhood recreation center and, today, home of the James & Grace Lee Boggs School. The project is also headed up by Interstate Arts director Shoshanna Utchenik, who is also the arts instructor at the Boggs School.

The show includes video projections, low-tech puppetry, stories of everyday perseverance and evolution told by four community elders who spent their younger years at the Sophie Wright recreation center. It’s an interesting way to beautifully and respectfully celebrate Detroit’s many-layered history.

In collaboration with a dozen local artists, Utchenik has synthesized interviews and imagery of four individuals who share a connection to the building. Past experiences bridge to the present, and future, including a cameo by Boggs School students. The role of the building itself is voiced by Diarra Michelle McKinney, and brought to life with video projections.

Good Bones takes place at 8 p.m. May 4 and May 5, at 4141 Mitchell St., Detroit; interstatearts.com.

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About The Author

Michael Jackman

Born in 1969 at Mount Carmel hospital in Detroit, Jackman grew up just 100 yards from the Detroit city line in east Dearborn. Jackman has attended New York University, the School of Visual Arts, Northwestern University and Wayne State University, though he never got a degree. He has worked as a bar back, busboy,...
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