The Manual Cinema uses a combination of 4 projectors, puppets, live acting, live music, and more to tell the amazing story of Gwendolyn Brooks.
Written by Bill Xun
Last Thursday, the Manual Cinema performed No Blue Memories — The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. The presentation had so many unique elements that complimented the story, and it was like watching a movie being filmed and produced live. The performers used 4 projectors and puppet cutouts to project images of backgrounds, people, and props onto the screen. The transitions were flawless, and the story was easy to follow. And when there were things that puppets couldn’t portray easily, the performers themselves stepped into the light to act, their shadows showing up on the screen and interacting with the projected shapes. This definitely wasn’t what I was expecting when I heard I would be going to a puppet show.
Just the projection and images on the screens themselves would’ve made a great show, but there was so much more. There was live music and singing, and there was poetry reading as well. All of these aspects came together perfectly to convey a fitting story tribute to Gwendolyn Brooks. The performers also allowed the audience to come onto stage at the end to see how it all works. The Manual Cinema’s style is truly unique, and I would definitely see them again.