I've been following New York puppeteer Kate Brehm's evolving art for some years now, and had the pleasure of writing about her work in progress, The Eye Which We Do Not Have here. I urge the entire piece on you, but should you neglect to click, here is a bit which sums up my own understanding of Brehm's remarkable work:
"Everything that crosses the boundary from ordinary life to the universe of Brehm's stage is examined and animated. Animate things on her stage are not characters alone, or objects alone, but the qualities of things as well: space, perspective, light, size, rate."
Kate Brehm with part of the set of The Eye Which We Do Not Have
Brehm has developed an ability to see the totality of the stage universe as a puppet, a necessarily complex and sometimes abstract approach which she calls "performing design." As applied in The Eye Which We Do Not Have, she created a pastiche of Hitchcockian themes: a woman's sexual manias cause her to descend into madness. From these bare bones of narrative, as in ballet, a world emerges.
the heroine of The Eye Which We Do Not Have
I'm raising the topic again because Brehm is presenting the final state of the same piece, in Brooklyn, from May 24 to June 1. I haven't seen this restaging yet. The earlier iteration was very much a work in progress. It struck me as necessarily so. Brehm's creativity is like a rapidly rotating kaleidoscope: beautiful forms emerge from it, shimmer an instant before the eye, and are rapidly replaced by fresh wonders. I have no idea what a "completed" Brehm would look like, or even if such a thing is possible. My hunch is that this version will be more technically polished, more smoothly staged, but will remain conceptually open, each fragment of it carrying the potential of limitless unfolding.
Her work is demanding, but it is rewarding out of all proportion with its demands. It floats with the sheer joy of playfulness and invention. If you missed it before, do yourself a favor and catch it this time. It is great good luck New Yorkers get another chance.
The Eye Which We Do Not Have
May 24-June 1
at Standard ToyKraft, 722 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn, 11211