BAR HARBOR — “The Art of Memory,” a film of shadow puppet narratives of outer island life, will have its large-scale debut at the Criterion Theatre on Friday, June 10, at 7 p.m.
Maine’s outer islands are famed for their close-knit communities and heritage of storytelling. Figures of Speech Theatre partnered with the Island Institute and the residents of Maine’s outer islands to bring some of these narratives to life using shadow puppets captured on film.
The film premiered in the communities that helped to create it and will be brought to a larger audience in Bar Harbor. The debut will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers and collaborators.
“As a theater, our ultimate goal is to build community through the arts,” said Heather Martin, director of the Criterion. “We are especially excited when we can share community work like ‘The Art of Memory,’ which is such a collaborative and locally grown project showcasing the talents and stories of our island neighbors.”
Over the past year and a half, Figures of Speech Theatre Director of Education Ian Bannon led a team of four artists as they worked with students in several schoolhouses off Maine’s coast. In the spring of 2015, Bannon travelled to each island to introduce students to documentary techniques, which they then used to cull stories from other island residents, historical archives and publications.
The entire artistic team returned in the fall of 2015 to collaborate in the creation and filming of shadow puppet adaptations of their favorite stories. The resulting 35-minute film combines a variety of shorts held together with a layered dreamscape of shadow imagery, narration from voice-over artists in Portland and an original musical score by Dave Noyes of Rustic Overtones.
The FOSSE (Figures of Speech Student Ensemble), now in its sixth season, brings professional artists into direct collaboration with students to devise original performances using Figures of Speech Theatre’s signature blend of puppets, masks, shadows, music, actors, dance and more. Figures of Speech Theatre was founded in Freeport in 1982 and since has won numerous awards, travelled globally and still retains a commitment to teaching and performing throughout its home state.
The Criterion Theatre is a newly restored, nonprofit venue dedicated to preserving this historic space for artists, musicians, performers and audiences. Recently reopened, the Criterion has hosted first-run Hollywood films, live theater, music, dance and children’s programming. For more information about the Criterion, visit www.criteriontheatre.org. The Criterion Theatre is proud to be a part of this community and honored to serve in this capacity.
“The Art of Memory” plays at The Criterion on Friday, June 10, at 7 p.m.
Tickets cost $7 for adults, $5 for those 12 and under.