Family portraits

Yvette Edery
By Shira Frager

A puppetry production about love and imagination will take audiences on a magical journey as Yvette Edery stages “What is Love? A Family Story” at Flushing Town Hall this month.

“What is Love?” explores elements of puppetry, pulling audiences into a production using art, music, sound and dance that will transport them out of reality using space and sculptural sensibility.

The play, depicting a woman constantly moving through a magical landscape, enables audiences to share her experiences in moving from the real to the imaginary world. The woman’s visits with family members help her along this journey of self-discovery.

Director Edery’s interest in puppetry led her to her own road of self-reflection as she traveled internationally to study the art form in more depth.

“In order to really deeply study it, I had to go abroad,” said Edery.

She found work in the field that supported her, and while in Germany, Edery studied with Abrecht Roser, a legendary figure in the world of puppetry who helped her improve on her skills.

“I went and studied with him for six months and he gave me some tasks to build portraits,” said Edery.

Edery said Roser not only taught her basic skills, but encouraged her to devote herself to the craft of puppetry on a more intense and primal level.

“While I was there, it wasn’t really going well, and he asked me to stop thinking and be more meditative about it,” Edery said. “I was performing fine and I was building okay. It just hadn’t reached that level of instinct. He wanted me to get to the point where the technique was the art.”

Edery brought the skills she learned from Roser to the United States, where she currently teaches puppetry at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and at Princeton University.

Her performance at Flushing Town Hall is sponsored by the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts’ Space Grant, an initiative that gives artists free access to arts spaces at Flushing Town Hall to create, exhibit and perform their work.

“Space is a premium in the city and particularly for the artists,” said Steven McIntosh, director of education at the nonprofit. “During these tough economic times, we need to find a way to serve our local community and serve our local artists.”

According to McIntosh, the institution’s passion about puppetry and theater reaches audiences of all ages. They provided Edery free space in their venue to enable her to continue her work.

“What’s interesting is her particular piece is for adult audiences,” said McIntosh. “Our work in the past has been for all ages.”

Several performances of “What is Love?” will be accompanied by special events following the show, including a gallery opening July 15, a screening of a short film made by Edery July 16, a panel discussion on meditation and healing in the arts July 17 and a group meditation session July 18.

If You Go

What is Love? A Family Story

When: July 13-18, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing

Cost: $5-$80

Contact: 718-463-7700

For More: www.flushingtownhall.org or www.TheaterMania.com for tickets

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