The Plastic Bag Store
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Carolina Performing Arts
|Chapel Hill, NC|
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(The Pigeoning) “…is a “very funny bunraku puppet play for grown-ups (which) has as whimsical a relationship with time as it does with realism”…
“Frohardt and company have been finessing their piece for years, and the result is something extraordinarily integrated, burnished to a high gloss.”
“”The Pigeoning is an absolute must-see show that is family-friendly” ”
The Pigeoning is a bunraku -style puppetry show performed by five puppeteers and original score which can be performed live by one musician. Obsessed with cleanliness and order, Frank is also plagued by pigeons. Convinced the pigeons are plotting against him, Frank sets out on an adventure to solve a problem that perhaps isn’t really there? The Pigeoning is a darkly comedic yet heartfelt story that spins articulate puppetry, original music, and lo-fi special effects into an epic tale about the illusion of safety and control in the context of the end of the world. The Pigeoning takes a look at the divide between man and nature at time when listening to the animals may be our best bet…
The Dumpster Monster is a 10 foot high inflatable plastic bag monster that explodes from a dumpster. The audience in encouraged to participate by playing with various cockroach, fly and rat puppets that swarm around him. Dumpster Monster was originally created for the NEXTNOW Festival at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in 2015.
The Plastic Bag Store sells plastic bags. There are cartons of bags, boxes of bags, and of course bags of bags. It’s a little overwhelming.
From the street, it looks like any other store in New York. There’s a tacky vinyl awning, and windows full of products and colorful signage.
Step inside. At the counter there’s a cashier. He says you can look around. It turns out everything in the shelves is actually just plastic bags. The candy rack has “bag bars, ” The magazine rack is just magazines about bags.
This is the world created by the artist Robin Frohardt. It’s an installation open during business hours for anyone who wants to drop by and look around. At night, the store comes alive with a team of puppeteers and actors.
Buy a ticket and the cashier will point you towards the aisles that twist and turn into a maze . Navigate past intricate cardboard sets growing from the cereal aisle, climb inside the freezer case into a frozen world. Open a secret door and you’ll be transported to a future history museum where your trash is excavated and analyzed.
Frohardt’s Plastic Bag Store is a narrative installation, a puppet show, a joke gone too far. It’s also a story about the crap we use to hold all our crap. About the absurdity of waste created for the sake of simple convenience, and the permanence of the disposable.
Known for her rich aesthetic and highly detailed constructions, Robin Frohardt is an award-winning artist, puppet designer and director living in Brooklyn, NY. Frohardt has a knack for taking a simple premise to an elaborate realization. Her rich imagination, unique sense of humor and stunning technical craft come together to create work that defies the conventions of traditional storytelling.
Her original play “The Pigeoning” hailed by the New York Times as “a tender, fantastical symphony of the imagination,” debuted in 2013 and continues to tour at home and abroad and has been translated into German, Greek, Arabic and Turkish. In 2016 she received a Creative Capital Award for her new work “The Plastic Bag Store” an installation and performance that takes place in a fake grocery store in a real storefront and addresses the long term impact of disposable plastic packaging. She is currently developing the work through a DisTil Fellowship at the University of North Carolina. She is a MacDowell Colony Fellow and the first artist in Residence at Olson Kundig a renown design and architecture firm in Seattle.