Printer's Devil Theater to Present ANIMAL CRUELTY, 10/17-11/9

October 2
2:08 PM 2013

Printer's Devil Theater, in association with Theatre Off Jackson, presents the world premiere of Animal Cruelty, a Sgt. Rigsby & His Amazing Silhouettes shadow puppet noir. Performed with radio show-style live voices and a menagerie of two-dimensional puppets, the story follows Sgt. Rigsby fan-favorite Chicken Jenny, as she gets in a jam and runs from the law. Playing October 17-November 9 at Theatre Off Jackson. Tickets are available now at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/466347

Animal Cruelty offers a unique theater experience. These 2-D puppets have 3-D stories, emotions, and a fair amount of sex. Front and center is the big carnival wagon style shadow screen where the puppet action takes place. Off to the side is a table where the actors, who will provide voices and Foley sound effects, sit in full view of the audience.

Animal Cruelty is directed by Jennifer Jasper and features actors Stephen Hando, Shannon Kipp, Stacey Plum, and Roy Stanton. Live original music is performed by Shawnmarie Stanton and Kathie Whitehall. And nimble puppetry is provided by Scot Augustson and Ben Laurance.

The production team includes: Tim Crist (stage management), Patti West (lighting design), Jeff Cook (puppet screen design), and Robin MacCartney (props and set).

Scot Augustson explains the history of Sgt. Rigsby & His Amazing Silhouettes: "Shadow puppetry was never something I set out to do. My friends and I have always slipped into funny voices and characters. You know, like a 19th Century London flower girl who lives in fear of the ripper (who turns out to be Mary Todd Lincoln.) I wanted to put these onstage but you don't want to build a set and make Victorian costumes and flood the stage with fog for a piece that really wants to be three minutes long. So, I made some shadow puppets.

"We first did them at a Printer's Devil Theater benefit at Re-bar in the summer of 1998, then once-a-month for five years at Annex Theatre's late night cabaret Spin The Bottle. People went crazy for our decidedly-not-for-children puppets. Eventually the Rigsby alter ego emerged and Sgt. Rigsby & His Amazing Silhouettes began creating full-length features.

"I have always loved film noir, which is what our latest offering, Animal Cruelty, is. It stars the most popular Rigsby character, Chicken Jenny, voiced by Stephen Hando, who really brings the old girl to life." On playing Chicken Jenny, Hando adds, "From the first moment I met Chicken Jenny I fell in love. Working with Scot over the years, I've gotten to play a multitude of Sgt. Rigsby characters but that chicken is the closest to my heart. Giving voice to this middle aged (though don't say it to her face), salt-of-the-earth, compassionate, raunchy, love-prone, hilarious, take-no-guff Southern chicken is a treat."

Shawnmarie Stanton has composed seven original songs for the show including the incredibly catchy theme song for the Mermaids of Tipperando and a tender ballad sung by Chicken Jenny, that won't leave a dry eye in the house. Stanton says, "Writing the music was a joy. Scot writes such fun and colorful characters that I just closed my eyes and allowed myself to inhabit the world he's created and the music came alive in my imagination."

This show marks Jennifer Jasper's third Sgt. Rigsby production as director. She says, "I am excited to enter the world of Sgt. Rigsby & his Silhouettes once again as director and rabid Scot Augustson fan. My collaborations with Scot span decades and we have created wonderful noir worlds together. Now we bring puppets and live music into the mix. My biggest struggle as director? Being able to see the stage through my tears of laughter."

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