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The CONDITIONS by Lucy M. May


I am looking forward to resuming our collaboration in December 2023, having had the pleasure of collaborating with the Canadian dance artist Lucy M. May since 2020 as an as an artist/scenographer for her project The Conditions, which seeks an embodiment through movement, sound, and shadow of the way sensations get translated into perception.  I joined her Quebec-based team of collaborating artists remotely from Philadelphia in 2020 and 2021, while they were in residence at Studio 303.  Then in 2022 I was able to join them for a week of studio research at Eastern Bloc Gallerie where we tied together our thoughts through performed movement, sound, and image.  The pictures in the gallery below document my extensive questioning of how shadows can help activate and relate experiences with inner/outer body fluidity.  Techniques explored included body sculpture landscapes in fabric, torn paper and shadow,  and water paintings on overhead projector.  The Conditions is an ongoing production in development, with most recent work sessions taking place in December 2023.  Updates coming soon.


THE FUTURE IS GENERATONAL, in partnership with Camden FireWorks

A series of community shadow theater workshops and culminating in a short film created in partnership with Camden FireWorks and residents of the Camden Waterfront South neighborhood highlighting their history of environmental racism, resilience, and success.


MAMI WATA film pilot, screenplay by Brittany Clemons

Coming soon!

A shadow short film pilot introducing a Reconstruction-era Southern Odyssey, in collaboration with writer and director Brittany Clemons

Learn more about her full project Dr. Buzzard & the Dixieland Terrors.

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We announced Nate the Knife's tattoo business move with shadow puppetry flair.



An exploration with the Philly-based musician Michael McMillan replicating geological processes through shadow and sounds created with objects from nature or their man-made trash-counterparts.  In July, I invited Michael to collaborate on an open ended sharing of our music and shadows.  As we discovered that we were both interested in teasing apart the foraged and the everyday items that surround us (plastic bags, cans, driftwood, scrap paper), we began to synthesize the sounds and imagery of our world.  The time and space that I needed to work on this purely personal project are largely in thanks to Grizzly Grizzly 's 319 Artist Residency, and an Illuminate the Arts Grant received from the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and the Arts and Culture Task Force, and City Council.




A series of stills showing the shadow puppets and sets created for Dion Schumann's film True Nature's Child  (post-production).  It was so much fun to create the dream sequence for Dion's film through shadow puppetry.  One of the main reasons for being a resident artist at GrizzlyGrizzly was because it helped to set me up with enough space to learn about a double overhead-projector set up (the wonderful vintage kind), which takes plenty of space and neutral walls.  The gallery space was perfect, and I wouldn't have been able to shoot this scene as efficiently without that opportunity.  After Dion and I had confirmed the scene's storyboard, I set to making each puppet out of paper, wire, and real branches, and then trouble shooting them for composition and ease of puppeteering on the over-head projectors.  The most challenging part was lyp-syncing the Crow puppet to its pre-recorded dialogue in German!  Some of the puppets required duplicates with a different set of motions.  Some required the two-projector set up to achieve effects like beginning lightning and water ripples.  My biggest puppet was about an arm's length, and my smallest figure was only a fingernail wide.  This project was my first plunge into combining live-performance shadow puppetry with montage.

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An invitation to collaborate, a mini imagination-activity shared with all collaborating artists, and for anyone visiting this page.  Music by Michael McMillan.  I first learned this exercise in the Advanced Shadow Theater course at the University of Connecticut with shadow puppeteer Annie Katsura Rollins.

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