For more than 15 years, Bonnie Duncan has blended puppetry, dance, and physical theatre in surprising and delightful ways. Her work has been described as “an artful world of silent dreams, mime, and dance.” This summer, she will return to Flushing Town Hall with an amazing presentation, “Lollipops for Breakfast,” with the Gottabees on July 30.
Now, we know you can’t have lollipops for breakfast! But in this presentation, Sylvie decides she’s going to break that rule, even if it means she has to make her own amazingly perfect lollipop from scratch. The audience is invited to come along as she and her trusty pet bird search for missing ingredients, wrestle with giant candy machines, and get lost in a magical pop-up cookbook.
Tickets are available for two shows that day – at 11 AM AND 2 PM – and can be purchased here.
What can an audience expect to experience at your performances?
Lollipops for Breakfast is a “marvelous concoction of friendship, invention, and adventure” comprised of puppetry, physical theater, live music, and a tiny bit of acrobatics. We aim to capture our audience’s collective imagination and take them on a journey together. We can be furiously silly and then profoundly grounded all within five or six minutes. We love surprising our audience with twists and turns in the story and visual changes to the world created on stage.
Tell us about you – how you started as a performer?
I started performing as a child — my dance school had an outreach program where we performed in nursing homes and other community organizations. I was smitten with sharing joy from stage! I continued to study dance, focused on theater in college, and then found puppetry on my own after that. I was a company member of a modern dance company in Boston for 8 years—we collaboratively created and performed sculptural dance theater. We toured nationally and internationally. All the while I was working in puppetry with friends and making solo pieces. So, basically, I followed my interests and ended up here as The Gottabees!
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in South Carolina and now live in Boston. Brendan Burns & Tony Leva (the musicians) both grew up in upstate New York (Fredonia & Binghampton respectively). My husband, who also directed and co-wrote Lollipops for Breakfast, Dan Milstein, grew up in Princeton, NJ and grew up seeing lots of shows in New York with his parents, who are avid modern dance and theater fans.
What do you hope audiences discoverat one of your events?
The Gottabees has a “Terms of Service” that sums up our greatest hope: We find it deeply satisfying to create original physical theater so families can do something fun together that allows them all to giggle, gasp, sigh, and cheer in 45 minutes or less. One of the things that makes us happiest is when we meet children who have seen a show and parents tell us how their child acted out the entire show for weeks after seeing it. This is the core reason why we make theater for young audiences: The Gottabees want children to know in their hearts that they, too, can make theater wherever they are and whomever they are.
When we performed at Flushing Town Hall last year, we were so impressed and thrilled by how much this beautiful space felt so open and available to the entire local community and felt so lucky to be part of the fabric of this organization.
What is on the horizon for you?
When we arrive at Flushing Town Hall, we will have just returned from a pretty big driving tour—-Boston to Detroit to St. Paul, MN to Morristown, NJ! In August we head up to Maine for a week (which is combo tour / vacation!).
We are also working on a new show for families that we hope will premiere in 2018. We began development last year and just returned from a residency at Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Puppetry Conference where we explored some of our central themes and tested ideas on fresh audiences. We’ll continue working on it at a residency at The Yard, on Martha’s Vineyard in July and then in Boston after that. Themes, visuals, and sounds are Top Secret so stay tuned!