Shards of Time reflects over forty years of research, writing, and drawing. The ideas are a product of my education and upbringing. My mother was an artist; her early gifts to me were a love of drawing, an interest in Shakespeare, Poe, Dickens, and the Bible. From my father, an electrician, I learned steady work habits and respect for craft. An early love of theater has helped to inform the latest direction that Shards . . . has taken.
In February of 2010, I met with Kenneth Lundquist, Jr. at the Clockwork Theater in Oakville, Connecticut. I have known him since 2006; we’ve worked together on poetry and music projects at the level 5, maximum-security prison where I was the librarian. I mentioned that I had been thinking of the work as a theater/video piece and had even set a slide show version of The Poison Swamp to music, and he agreed to take it on as a project. (Kenneth is the owner of WULFLYNX studios, an arts consulting firm and production company. He assembled a group of twelve actors, all of whom had been handed copies of a script version of the book a few weeks before.
I was astonished at how well they had all prepared, taking the time to polish the accents of the characters, and giving the voices just the right touch of personality, without overdoing or exaggerating. My concern had been that my creations would become caricatures -- cartoonish and ridiculous. These professional actors put my fears to rest, breathing wonder and yearning into the characters. I later learned that, as they read before me in this dimly lit small room, they were nervously observing my expression, to watch for signs of disapproval. When they saw the smile on my face, they knew they had nothing to worry about. Recording sessions followed until everyone’s parts were laid down. The project was worked on with, voice-over, music, scene and master editing.
Next I worked with two students through the Career Development Office at the Newtown High School; as their mentor I directed their production work on a companion piece to The Poison Swamp video that highlighted my own research on historical preservation and art.
My work with students has prompted an idea for creating an international women’s project. After all the SPOOL Society are women, role models for girls. While they don’t have superpowers, they use their brains to outwit their adversaries.
I would like to build on my own mentoring experiences, and my work with Ken Lundquist and his actors.
My plan is to develop and produce, with sponsorship, planning, and implementation grants, a production of each episode as a theater piece. I think of this work as a kind of laboratory for the development of a new kind of theater, in which blown up projected images of my pages are used as scenery, sometimes with animation. Against this backdrop, live narration with acting, singing and dance sequences would occur in certain times during the performance.
My idea is to recruit women experienced in the performing arts— directors, animators, actors, dancers, musicians, songwriters, and techies to mentor younger women to work on this project. The grant money would be used to collaborate with local theater colleges to produce a quality theater piece