The 264th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  January 28, 2020 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, University Center, 63 Fifth Avenue, room UL 105 (lower level). Free and open to the public.

Jenny Romaine on Ornamentation Is Resistance: Spectacular Strategies for Resistance and Resilience

This talk will feature a selection of images and stories from 30 years of projects and processes by puppeteer Jenny Romaine/Great Small Works and her partner radical traditionalists exploring visual storytelling, adornment, festival and flamboyant aesthetics as a method for building power.  What do the Eggplant Fearies mean by the “three lavender shields of fun, friendly and unexpected?” Come on down and find out.

JENNY ROMAINE is a director, designer, puppeteer and co-founder of the visual theater collective Great Small Works. She is music director of Jennifer Miller’s CIRCUS AMOK and artist in residence at Milk Not Jails.  She has directed community based spectacles for numerous projects in New York City and around the world. Romaine was a sound archivist at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research for 13 years and for several decades has drawn on Yiddish/Pan Jewish primary source materials to create art that has contemporary meaning.  Her projects include the Sukkos Mob (featured in the film Punk Jews), community Purim Shpiln with the Aftselakhis Spectacle Committee, The Revival of the Uzda Gravediggers, and Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls with Great Small Works.  Romaine has worked extensively as an educator in public schools, prisons, universities and museums. She currently is a Visiting Professor at the Pratt Institute department of Performance Studies. She was the first recipient of the Adrienne Cooper Award for Dreaming in Yiddish (2014), received a Marshall Meyer Risk-Taker Award from Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (2015). and is featured in Dazzle Camouflage: Spectacular Theatrical Strategies for Resistance and Resilience a monograph by Ezra Berkley Nepon.

 Great Small Works (GSW) was founded in 1995 by a collective of six artists John Bell, Trudi Cohen, Stephen Kaplin, Jenny Romaine, Roberto Rossi and Mark Sussman, all veterans of Bread and Puppet Theater – to create theater of high artistic quality, and to keep theater at the heart of social life.  The company draws on folk, avant-garde and popular theater and puppetry traditions to address contemporary issues. GSW performs in theaters, schools, parks, libraries, museums, prisons, street corners, and other public spaces, producing work on many scales, from gigantic outdoor spectacles with scores of volunteers, to miniature shows in living rooms. Its six members create and tour original theatrical productions, and host festivals, exhibitions and cabaret evenings that serve the field by keeping a multi- generational and diverse community of artists connected ( i.e. Toy Theater Festival, HONK! festival of radical street bands, Purim & Spaghetti Dinners.) GSW mentors younger artists and supports them financially and professionally. Several collective members are renowned puppet scholars and historians who teach at the university level, publish, and lecture internationally.   GSW has created hundreds of community events, spectacles and performances that engage the public in art. In the past year GSW has performed at festivals in Quebec, Chicago, northern Germany, Finland, Mexico, France, and at the Baltimore Theatre Project.  On any scale, GSW productions seek to renew, cultivate and strengthen the spirits of their audiences, promoting theater as a model for participating in democracy.

GSW has received a Village Voice Obie Award (1997) and two UNIMA/USA Citations for Excellence (1997 and 2008); a New York Foundation for the Arts Community Assets Grant (1998), and the Puppeteers of America’s Jim Henson Award for innovation in puppetry (2005).

jro 3 at force majeure 1914