In Which I'm Still Hungry, and I Hope You Are Too

Just before Christmas 2015, I signed a contract to play a certain insect off-Broadway for a couple months. And, after Christmas, I did just that.

But…(I should have known)…he was still hungry.

Nearly four years later, I’ve now had the joy of opening The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show a number of times in a few different capacities, most recently as the puppetry director for a brand new production at Chicago Children’s Theatre. Each time I jump back in, I’m reminded there is no better playground than a rehearsal room, watching puppets come to life - slowly, slowly, bit by bit - as we work a moment again and again. In puppetry, there is no life without curiosity, play, and a willingness to fail. That’s a nice thing to remember.

Our first day of rehearsal, 4 January 2016. Puppets designed and built by The Puppet Kitchen.

Our first day of rehearsal, 4 January 2016. Puppets designed and built by The Puppet Kitchen.

Each time I jump back in, I’m reminded how difficult is to make simple things. The show is beautifully simple, full of quiet moments and big themes. The process of arriving at that simplicity can be a tricky one, though. It calls on everyone in the room to make a big mess, and then - slowly, slowly, bit by bit - clean up and clarify that mess without losing the humor, heart, and joy we found along the way. Sometimes, in the thick of the mess, it’s hard to believe we’ll ever arrive at simplicity, but we always do. It usually looks like a butterfly. That’s a nice thing to remember, too.

So, here’s to the cast, crew, and creative team at CCT, and indeed everyone who is hungry to make a Very Simple Thing. It’s a difficult thing to do.

In Which I'm Teaching a Class, and There Might Be Some Pie

Happy Almost August everyone! And to those who love the fall as much as I do, happy Almost Nearly End of August as well.

I’ve admittedly spent the day thinking about the impending autumn…I’ve always loved everything the season tends to bring with it: the colors, the layers, the mystery, the metaphor, the pie. Perhaps my favorite aspect of autumn, though, is the sense of focus and momentum that returns every September, a holdover from the days when September meant returning to my role as a student.

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I’ve got some big plans for that focus this year, and look forward to making something out of that momentum. To kick things off, and to get into the ‘back to school’ spirit, I’m teaching an Animation Voiceover Workshop for Kids in NYC! We’ll be meeting at John Marshall Media in Midtown on September 16th, 5pm-8pm to work on creating characters, honing microphone and audition techniques, interpreting sides, and getting rid of any and all self-consciousness so our voices can fly. Open to ages 8 to 12.

I can’t wait to get seriously silly with you all…so please feel free to share far and wide with all the tiny cartoon lovers in your life.

To sign up, head over to www.greatbigvoices.com.

Here’s to a future of focus and pie,

Jake

A Place, Then, For Questions

There are 

many things I’ve yet to know,

And places that I’ve yet to go,

But here’s a place to sit, 

and so,

I’ll christen it my Thoughtful Spot —

where No One Needs to Know the Lot —

It’s just a seat for questions sought,

Uninterested in answers.