Faulty
Optic

knight home company shows dates contact other links mabel

 

other stuff

1989 'Rumpelstiltskin' for series 'Grim Tales' with Rik Mayall. Designed, constructed and performed. – An Initial Film and TV production for Central Independent TV Plc. Rumpelstiltskin allows the weedy princess to make gold for the greedy king and then promise him her first born child as a final payment. Later went to Video.
1990 Collaboration with film-maker Tessa Sheriden. 'Feed Me’ 12 minute film for Granada T.V. Designed, constructed and performed. A purpose built factory set where a down trodden workforce attempted to overthrow the greedy pig-like owner - a show about waste and recycling.
Christmas 1990 An Alternative Xmas grotto in a disused shop window off Carnaby Street, London. Organised by Alternative Arts. Ran for 3 weeks. For passers-by to ponder the alternative Christmas Spirit. Included live turkey stuffing, wrapping paper recycling, cannibalistic babies, fake Santas and gnomes blatantly flouting all safety regulations.
1991 Part of L.I.F.T, educational programme - collaboration with Handspring/Market Theatre, Johannesburg and Queens Park Community School, London.

1993 Directed students at Central School of Speech and Drama. London. A 50 minute show in 3 parts - A curious picnicer gets caught out by his own curiousity; an erstwhile astronomer is pestered by a very rude mechanical dog; 2 sisters are born, they run off with giant clubs and capture prehistoric beasts which they beat mercilessly; The show went on to play at the Ecole Superior des Marionettes, Charleville-Mezieres, France.

1993 Collaboration with 'Walk the Plank' and other artists - Christmas Grotto. Britain’s only Theatre Ship moored at Salford Quays, Manchester.A wandering ship's mate and a miniature nocturnal urban night-before-Xmas scene played to 15 people in intimate spaces. Ran for 4 weeks.
1995 Directed 3 student projects at Ecole Superior des Marionettes, Charleville-Mezieres, France. 6 weeks. A soldier returns from war to find his home life in pieces; an nice old lady lures lonely old men to their doom by bouncing on her bed and offering them a go; on a Sunday morning stroll a man finds himself on trial by the devil in a locked toilet from which he cannot escape. Each piece was 20 - 30 minutes duration.
1995 Puppetry project at Shelley High School, W. Yorkshire - Filmed for Channel 4. Adaptation of the Pendle Witches by Head of Drama Steven Downs. Guided students in making the lifesize puppets and gave puppet direction. Performed with live actors.
1996 Advisor 'Godparent' to 2 final projects at Ecole des Marionettes, Charleville. France. Helping to direct the pieces of Jo Smith and Javier Swedski. 3 weeks.
1999

Collaboration with other performers to form 'Over the Edge' a performance at The Natural History Museum, London. A week of shows in the Great Hall to compliment the Voyages of Discovery Exhibition.

Under the tail of the giant Diplodocus, on the central staircase in the Great Hall of the Natural History Museum, an enormous structure was set up by 'Killing Jar', a group brought together by Gabbi Campbell of the Museum's Events Department.

The production 'Over the Edge' subtly poked fun at the obsessive and often bigoted attitudes of a large Victorian Institute. It traced the more eventful years of an old explorers life as he pondered his memoirs about the natural world, the meaning life, the universe and everything.

Audiences were stunned by ancient gods fire bombing innocent little boats and marveled at the loading both inside and out of a 1metre ship seen enormous on 2 x 5m square screens either side of the stairway. Whilst the ship weaved its' way through the audience, Albi Gravener performed his specially composed music, high up on the Hall's gantry.

Puppets, nice ones and scary ones, jungle scenes, arctic scenes, ridiculous desk banging scenes, hallucinations, specially made up slides (see the images above) and filmed extracts of the pinning out of unfortunate beasties entertained the audiences of up to 400 for over an hour.

The Guardian

'The past by puppet' Brian Logan. Over the Edge. Natural History Museum, London. Friday August 13 1999

It's a measure of animation's newfound credibility that, when the Natural History Museum seeks a means to attract an older audience, it stages a puppet show. Over the Edge - a curtain raiser for the Museum's Voyages of Discovery exhibition - is firmly in the visual-theatre tradition: its creators include members of adult-puppetry pioneers Faulty Optic. For its prologue, two animated monkey skeletons gibber and, yes, scratch their armpits as they hop from one balcony archway to another. They settle into display cases atop a makeshift cabinet halfway up the staircase at the end of the museum's cathedral-like great hall. There, creative use of the venue ends: Over the Edge is site specific in content, not in form.

It's hero is an ageing explorer, remembering his adventures among the wilder sights and species of an uncharted globe. His boat bobs through the ocean of the audience and under the tail of the museum's resident diplodocus. He discovers lost worlds mummified in icebergs and comments, with Victorian primness: "I was confident this would generate considerable interest" The narrative evokes mealy-mouthed colonialism, and mocks its failings. A Union Jack pitched in the snow is whipped away by Arctic winds. A friendly savage, when instructed in the use of a knife and fork, prefers to eat his crocodile au naturel. It's all conjured with incredibly expressive, skilful puppetry. The show's primary pleasure are impressionistic. At one stage, we see the heroic flump netting butterflies, then swatting them, then nailing them into his menagerie of embalmed beasties, as if to rib the Natural History Museum itself. Later, the planet Earth spins in the sky, with skyscrapers sticking out like so many pins in a pincushion. Experiments with scale are played out on two screens, where we see by live-video feed what goes on inside tents and boats and in the hero's fevered sleeping brain. Those impressions might hang together better if the acoustics weren't so bad: a badly muffled voiceover undermines the continuity, and left me puzzling over the identities of two boffins who keep the old explorer imprisoned. But those unfamiliar with modern puppetry or the grandeur of the museum itself would be well advised to make of this unusual spectacle a voyage of discovery of their own.

 

2000
 

Benji Reid - The Pugalist - Collaboration with Faulty Optic

2000 Collaborating with dancer and actor Benji Reid to build a performance based on a short story by Jack London about an aging boxer called Barrington King. Funded by Yorkshire and Humberside Arts and North West Arts. Co-produced by Yorkshire Dance. THE PUGILIST became part of a trilogy entitled WAITING ROOM performed by Benji around the UK from September 2000.

'Waiting Room' Three very different pieces provide a full evening of diverse work which exploits his skills as a performer and deviser (ex David Glass ensemble, Soul II Soul main dancer, body popping world champion and Black MimeTheatre)

The Pugilist was commissioned by Lawrence Batley Theatre as part of Year of the Artist.The Waiting Room was commissioned by The Green Room, funded by North West Arts Board and supported by Dance North West.

 
2003
 

Resonance 2003 - The Wax Inspector - collaboration with musician/composer Hugh Nankivell commissioned by Opera North

Performed at Leeds Met University Studio Theatre.

Songs by Hugh Nankivell, Visuals and Direction by Faulty Optic (Liz Walker and Gavin Glover) Producer - Dominic Gray, Bass - Galloway Bell, Soprano - Anna Barry, Bass Clarinet - John Robinson 'Cello - George Kennaway, Piano/Viola - Hugh Nankivell.

 

photo - Gavin Glover as the WAX Inspector - film still

 

Marston's Economy TITBITS. Automata Exhibition. Rufford Craft Gallery, Rufford County Park.

 

A piece created by faultyoptic for the public to operate themselves. You pull, turn and twist the levers to manipulate the rat's head, spine and back legs.The rat is tied to a pole suspended over the hand which is teasing it with a box of 'Marston's Economy Titbits'.

150cm and wall mounted. Welded metal, wood, leather and cable.

 
2004

Licked

Resonance 2004

- a collaboration with writer Edward Carey and musical composer Dominic Sales comissioned by Opera North and co-produced by Leeds Met University.

LICKED

 

 

2006
* Charleville-Mezieres - Insitut International de la Marionnette. France. 2 week puppet manipulation and video camera workshop.
* Tutti Frutti - FaultyOptic led workshops developing puppetry skills for Tutti Frutti for their production of Jack - written by Mike Kenny and toured autumn 2006
* Madrugada - Designed and constructed set for physical performance company Madrugada - performed by Leo Kay and directed by Benji Reid.
* pa-BOOM - Film and animation Consultants for Light Horse performance.
* Mind the Gap - FaultyOptic led workshops developing puppetry skills for the touring company of Mind The Gap.
 

workshops

FaultyOptic occasionally ran workshops on manipulation and improvisation. Workshops are generally 2 - 6 hours and usually in conjunction with our own performances.

The emphasis of these short workshops is on manipulation skills - concentrating on the movement and focus of a puppet and on simple improvisation. The character, it's thought processes and reactions are developed in various situations, both with one another and with props. The puppets used are 2 person figures, one set with legs; the other set larger hand and head puppets. The puppets are a mixture of comical, eccentric, and archetypal. Workshop members usually find some new, extreme and hilarious situation with the characters and then present this to the group.

The workshops are suitable for interested public, art and drama students, performers wishing to learn some basic puppetry skills and puppeteers wanting to try different techniques. They are - helpful for learning to work with other people, skill sharing, confidence building and fun.

Faulty Optic have worked on longer projects over 1 - 6 week periods eg at Figurenkolleg, Bochum, Germany, Ecole Superior des Marionettes, Charleville-Mezieres, France, London School of Puppetry, Central School of Art & Drama, London and Shelley High School, Huddersfield. These have often led to public performances of devised and adapted pieces by the students eg International Meeting of Puppet Schools, Charleville-Mezieres.

 

exhibitions

1991 'Salvage' - Royal Festival Hall, London.
1991 'Grimm Tales', The sets and videos of all the people who created work for the Channel 4 Grimm tales series were exhibited at MOMI, South Bank. London.
1993 'Crafts in Performance' - a Crafts Council UK Touring Exhibition.
2003 Marston's Economy TITBITS. Automata Exhibition. Rufford Craft Gallery, Rufford County Park, Doncaster