Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Toy Theater at MPD
"Toy Theaters, Worlds in Miniature"
Twenty-one rare toy theaters from around the world
at the Museum of Performance and Design
Veterans Building / 401 Van Ness Avenue / 4th floor
Open Wed - Sat, 12 - 5pm
I was lucky enough to get a private tour of this show with the curator, Bill Eddelman. His knowledge and enthusiasm for toy theater is infectious and I soon found myself imagining my own handmade dioramas. The assembled theaters, full of 2D actors and stage sets, tiny lights, toy furniture and paper moons, were mostly in glass cases - good thing because I had an irresistible urge to put my hands in them and start moving things around. Took me right back to childhood.
The theaters are from all over the world and the show is organized by country of origin. Mostly classical fairy tales and opera are represented, and they're mostly Victorian Era theaters (ranging from the 18th century to present.) Besides the constructed theaters, the walls are full of flat printed sheets of more paper-doll-like actors, backdrops and props.
For those of us who like to know what goes on behind the curtain, the construction and workings of the theaters can be seen from the sides. I was reminded of contemporary artists who have recently exhibited work with toy theaters - Sandow Birk and William Kentridge. And I couldn't help thinking that this is a art form that would appeal to the SteamPunk and Make crowds.
Actually, it appeals to me.
More photos at MPD's Flickr site.
Posted by Anna L. Conti at 4:54 PM