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Manual Cinema; 01/30/2019

Manual Cinema

Manual Cinema: The End of TV
Wednesday, January 30, 2019 – 7:30 PM
Wright Memorial Theatre

Using vintage overhead projectors, multiple screens, puppets, actors, live-feed cameras, multichannel sound design, and a live music ensemble, Manual Cinema transforms the experience of attending the movies into an immersive event created right before your eyes. The End of TV explores the two sides of the American Dream—its technicolor promise through TV advertising, and its failure witnessed in industrial decline. Stay to meet the performers on stage after the show. "This Chicago troupe is conjuring phantasms to die for...."—New York Times. Tickets: $22/16/10/6

The End of TV was made possible with funding by the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Theater Project, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Photo Maren Celest 

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Manual Cinema's The End of TV (Official Trailer)


The End of TV depicts the promise and decline of the American rust belt, through the stories of Flo and Louise, both residents of a fictional Midwestern city. Flo is an elderly white woman who was once a supervisor at the thriving local auto plant. Now succumbing to dementia, the memories of her life are tangled with television commercials and the “call now” demands of QVC. Louise, a young black woman laid off from her job when the same local auto plant closes, meets Flo when she takes a job as a Meals-on-Wheels driver. An unlikely relationship grows as Flo approaches the end of her life and Louise prepares for the invention of a new one. Their story is intercut with commercials and TV programs, the constant background of their environment.

The End of TV premiered in June, 2017 as a commission by The International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven, CT.

Production Credits

Screenplay by: Kyle Vegter and Ben Kauffman
Direction and Storyboards by: Julia Miller
Adapted for the screen by: Lizi Breit, Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Julia Miller, Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter
Music by: Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter
Sound Design by: Kyle Vegter
Puppet Designer: Lizi Breit
Associate Puppet Designer and Story Board Artist: Drew Dir
Assistant Director: Sarah Fornace
Costumes by: Mieka van der Ploeg
Lighting Design by: Claire Chrzan
Masks by: Julia Miller
Stage Manager: Shelby Glasgow
Production Manager: Mike Usrey
Puppet build interns: Zofia Lu Ya Zhang and Kathryn Ann Shivak

Original Cast

Kara Davidson (Flo/Puppeteer)
Aneisa Hicks (Louise/Puppeteer)
Jeffry Paschal (Ensemble/Puppeteer)
Vanessa Valliere (Ensemble/Puppeteer)
Maren Celest (Vocals, Live Sound FX, Live Video Mixing)
Deidre Huckabay (Flutes, Vocals)
Ben Kauffman (Vocals, Guitar, Keyboard)
Lia Kohl (Cello, Vocals)
Marques Toliver (Vocals, Violin)


Manual Cinema

“The End of TV’s artistry is awesome. Its impact is profound, unique, indescribable.”–Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant June 2017

” a fascinating theatergoing experience blending live music, old TV video clips and shadow puppetry”– E. Kyle Minor, New Haven Register June 2017

“the audience gets to experience . . . a moment of live artistic creation, playing out on the stage in front of them, with little to hide and lots to show” –Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent June 2017

Manual Cinema is a performance collective, design studio, and film/ video production company founded in 2010 by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Ben Kauffman, Julia Miller, and Kyle Vegter. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, and innovative sound and music to create immersive stories for stage and screen. Using vintage overhead projectors, multiple screens, puppets, actors, live feed cameras, multi-channel sound design, and a live music ensemble, Manual Cinema transforms the experience of attending the cinema and imbues it with liveness, ingenuity, and theatricality.

To date Manual Cinema has created three feature length live cinematic shadow puppet shows (Lula Del Ray, ADA/ AVA, Mementos Mori); site-specific installations (La Celestina, My Soul’s Shadow); music videos, cinematic trailers; short films; and live cinematic puppet adaptations of StoryCorps stories (Show & Tell). Their work has been commissioned by the Logan Square Arts Center, the University of Chicago, and eighth blackbird.

Manual Cinema’s work has been featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC) The Tehran International Puppet Festival (Iran), the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Noorderzon Festival (Netherlands), The O, Miami Poetry Festival, Handmade Worlds Puppet Festival (Minneapolis), The Screenwriters’ Colony in Nantucket, The Detroit Institute of Art, The Future of Storytelling Conference (NYC), the NYC Fringe Festival, The Poetry Foundation (Chicago), the Chicago International Music and Movies Festival, the Puppeteers of America: Puppet Festival (R)evolution, and elsewhere around the world, including various bars and found spaces around the city.

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax