• Andrew G. Cooper

The Festival of Animated Objects and Other Deaths of the Universe


Spring is finally here and I'm sure I'm not the only one who's breathing heavy sighs of relief in this warm fresh air. I was initially afraid that Edmonton wouldn't be as balmy as Calgary, but so far northern Alberta is treating me great with every day being above 10ºC!

March has been a whirlwind of a month so far and I'm so excited to be jumping into my next project in Edmonton (The Invisible at Catalyst Theatre). Before talking about what's coming up next in my theatre world, I just wanted to reflect on my first time with the Festival of Animated Objects in Calgary last week!

Here's what the festival is all about according to their website:

"Here at the Festival of Animated Objects we strive to engage our audience and animate our city by breathing life into our stories and arousing our collective imaginations through the innovative and sophisticated art of storytelling through mask, puppetry and animated objects. Every 2 years the Festival of Animated Objects awakens the inanimate and giving expression to the inert... Calgary will come alive with original creations, mythical creatures, and curious beasts, objects and gadgets, and thingamajigs beguiled by puppet-masters and artists alike to stir your imagination."

As you'll recall if you've been following along with the blog, this season has been my season to explore puppets and puppetry. It started with Mary and Max at Theatre Calgary then continued with The Robber Bridegroom with Chimera Theatre and Jupiter Theatre. So naturally I was thrilled when I found out I was going to be part of the Canadian Academy of Mask and Puppetry's new initiative called WÜNDER-BRIEFS. It was called a festival within a festival. They commissioned five artists to create bite-sized puppet performances that could travel around the festival venues.

I had the pleasure of creating a Arthurian fairy tale within an old traveling trunk and bringing it to life with help from the audience members. It was a blast and really got me excited about doing more puppet projects in the future. I even got to perform at the Dolly Wiggler Cabaret (which is now one of my favourite events in town)!

I also got to watch six of the shows in the festival and was so impressed by the world-class caliber of puppetry and performance that the festival brought into Calgary. Among my favourites were TRIA FATA and GIANT (which, by the way, is playing in Calgary at the Grand Theatre YYC until March 24th!). I'm feeling so inspired by all these amazing puppeteers and am already brainstorming on ideas for the 2021 festival!

So what's the next project for Andrew G. Cooper? I'm very excited (and scared!) to announce that my newest play Other Deaths of the Universe will be making its debut at the Common Grounds Festival in Calgary and the Hydra Performing Arts Festival in Kamloops this May and June!

At the beginning of the year, I made a resolution to be more honest, both in my personal life and my artistic practice. When thinking about a show to submit to these festivals that would be both honest and challenging, I asked myself "what could be the scariest thing for me to do on stage?" The answer was simple: write and performing in an autobiographical one-man show. And so that's what I'm doing now!

If you know me at all, you know I have a love of cosmology and astrophysics, so what I'm setting out to do is use those passions of mine as metaphors to explore my past relationships. Here's the write up for the festivals:

"All things must die. Plants, people, planets, even the universe itself will one day come to an end. Blending cosmology and storytelling, this performance explores connection and disconnection, relationships and loneliness. Come on a journey of science and sex to explore the universe from its inception to its inevitable fate."

Sex and science! Sound fun? If you're in Calgary or Kamloops this spring, come and check out this show! I'm going to be working with some fabulous designers to help bring it to life and I can't wait to see how the project evolves. Tickets for Calgary are available HERE and tickets for Kamloops are HERE. I hope to see you at the theatre!

In the meantime, I'll be enjoying the spring weather and hope that you do the same. I think because of this year, spring might be my new favourite season (autumn has held that title for several years now). Leave a comment below and let me know what your favourite thing about spring is!

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