Born in a rice paddy.
Growed in Texas.
Harvesting art by a Yankee moon.
My shadow practice simmers together everything from cut paper to traditional printmaking, overhead projector, crankie theater, stop motion animation, and cello. I’m fascinated by how we may look indirectly at an object—through a lens, through a shadow—and know it in a greater truth of itself. Above all I celebrate metamorphosis and liminal creatures. I like looking through X-ray goggles at the forces of grief, departure, and becoming, and I delight in poking at our perceptions of control and otherness. As I've come to roost finding shadow theater as a 'home' for all of my creative faculties, I'm now working on adapting and honoring this long-standing often spiritual tradition of storytelling towards original films and live performances. For me, calling on shadows is a magic of realizing the impossible and of vibrating at a frequency that is universally understandable, which is a magic that I feel is so fertile for growing mutual respect and communication across communities. While I seek to present original plays and films, I also encourage that my shadows help others share their own experiences. For the foreseeable future you can find me collaborating with musicians, dancers, singers, cooks, scientists, etc.
Maisie O’Brien (she/they) is a Philadelphia transplant from Dallas, TX and a Chinese-American adoptee. She has had the pleasure of presenting her original work with communities including Great Small Works, National Capital Puppetry Guild, Nasty Brutish & Short, Puppet Showplace Theater, Black Cherry Puppet Theater, The Baltimore Crankie Festival, Asian Arts Initiative, and Vox Populi Gallery, as well as developing shadows, puppets, sets, and costumes for collaborative projects with fellow storytellers in film, dance, music, and theater. Maisie has studied puppetry in academic and immersive contexts with Bread & Puppet Theater, The University of Connecticut, The O’Neill National Puppetry Conference, and the Chicago International Puppetry Festival Workshops. As a second generation arts educator they also work to encourage local young voices via puppetry and narrative arts workshops, summer camps, and festivals. This year they look forward to developing their own puppetry workshops in shadow play, and coordinating partnerships with local groups rooted in liberation.
photo by Ro Adler, at the Peoplehood Parade 2022 with Spiral Q in West Philly
Some shadow research with Minou Pourshariati as guest collaborators for Sara Outing's production Doors, presented by Tiny Dynamite, workshopped at the Louis Bluver Theater, Philadelphia.