Strings Attached - The Ties That Make Us Human
STRINGS ATTACHED – Under the guidance of Artistic Director Madeline Leavitt, Strings Attached is a cross-genre project, involving contemporary dance and abstract puppetry, which explores the deeply complex, challenging, and emotional layers of love. At its worst, love can be lonely, crazy, and illogical. But, at its best, love can be a true inspiration. “For many of us, direct human contact has been lost, people have become disconnected with each other… this work is about finding the path back to true human interaction and real emotion,” says Leavitt.
In development for three years, Strings Attached focuses on the universal feelings of grief, forgiveness, devotion, entrapment, and joy to create a tapestry of love. Each emotion/character in the piece is represented by an abstract puppet. Through a series of vignettes, the dancers intertwine with the fragmented emotions represented by the puppets through the choreography. Puppetry allows for the serious subject matter, which explores life’s most complex challenges, to be addressed in a nuanced space where light and shadow mingle, much like the simple yet poignant poetry of a child – uncensored and pure.
“The title for the piece emerged when I was operating the strings that control the puppets,” says Leavitt. “The attached strings are a metaphor for the emotional connections between us – relationships involve tremendous compassion and compromises.”
“Strings Attached is most directly influenced by Tierney’s oeuvre,” says Leavitt on the impact of the East German-born artist and storyteller Hanne Tierney on the new work. “Hanne creates theatre without the realism of human subjects. She has a wonderful way of using abstract objects in her performances to communicate drama, gesture, and symbolism.”