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Fish Pie Puppetry
with Annie Brooks

"... Colossal Crumbs are heading for cult status... you know you’re watching a company for whom no vision is likely to prove too big, and no detail too small."                                - Bella Todd, Ideas Tap

The Nightingale Theatre,
Brighton  Festival Fringe 2013 

Behind the stage flats, each of the 30-ish puppets had their own little labelled hook. It took on a strange life as a weird looking 'dead puppet' trophy wall complete with great white shark and jars of dead sea-cucumbers. 2013. Image: Ulysses Black

In early 2013 Annie Brooks approached Ulysses Black with the idea of developing a new show from the well trodden material of Colossal Crumbs' Carpe Blanche, into a portmanteau of three separate stories about the aquatic inhabitants of a single building. 
   By this point both the Cuthbert story and the Ludwig story had stood alone and been performed by the colossal crumbs puppeteers at various festivals. 
   After both artists had wrangled with different approaches - would the three characters live in a building simultaneously, or would they occupy the same flat over a period of time, and spent time on developing the individual stories etc... colleague Jack Stigner was then brought on board to help develop the structure from an outline into a single piece. It was decided early on that the show would not only be a series of interweaving stories, but would also give views onto a much wider world of the puppets reality. This would lead to a gigantic cast of over 30 different puppets, the filming of fictitious adverts, and a range scale models. With this last point came the notion of including shifts in scale to suggest distance, and in effect the presence of 'camera angles' that we elected to give our audience credit to comprehend. This would mean that we could build an opening sequence to the show not dissimilar to the opening of the original Star Wars film. A football sized fly buzzes around the audience while revealing delightful news to an unseen listener over a small mobile phone. Through various staged 'cuts' the gigantic fly would be replaced with a much smaller one before, now little more than 1:1 scale fly-size, being squashed under the foot of Cuthbert our first protagonist. From this first point of shocking action, the audience were supplied with layer upon layer of engagement, leading to one culminative point in which the audience are directly acknowledged and even coached by the jellyfish stage manager in the manner of a live-studio audience, readying for the very real arrival of the art maestro Ludwig, becoming utterly seduced by his celebrity status. This has extended to such a degree that Colossal Crumbs have both accepted and now actively promote the genuine artistic genius of Ludwig, even in the wider world of humanity.

An outrageous underwater lovechild of ‘The Mighty Boosh’ and The Muppets’ doused in deliciously dark humour, Fish Pie is a culinary delight” - Broadway Baby
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Behind the scenes and rehearsals
fish pie 2013
 

Annie Brooks and Ulysses Black recruit Jack Stigner as Dramaturge, to iron out the creases and help build a solid and exciting series of narrative arcs and internal dynamism. It was on this day, one wintry evening at the Nightingale Theatre, that we decided to build a puppet show like a film, complete with camera angles, close-ups, montages alongside the more conventional narrative structures like plot twists and reveals. 

Annie Brooks and Ulysses Black recruit Jack Stigner as Dramaturge, to iron out the creases and help build a solid and exciting series of narrative arcs and internal dynamism. It was on this day, one wintry evening at the Nightingale Theatre, that we decided to build a puppet show like a film, complete with camera angles, close-ups, montages alongside the more conventional narrative structures like plot twists and reveals. 

All words and images on www.ulyssesblack.com copyright 2014.