La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club
New York, NY
Created by Tom Lee and Koryu Nishikawa V
Shank’s Mare is the story of two wandering travelers whose paths intersect in time and space. Using traditional kuruma ningyo puppetry, live feed video projection, miniature sets and a live score by Bill Ruyle (hammer dulcimer) and Chieko Hara (shamisen and flute), the piece explores life and death and how tradition is passed on.
“For the first time in ages, the venerable La MaMa has opened a new performance space. The Downstairs is another of the venue’s brick-lined, tin-ceilinged exquisites, though this one is tucked away in the basement, a snug little wine cave where some of us sit on low benches. Before the equally miniature and enchanting Shank’s Mare, two four-foot-tall Japanese puppets perform a ceremonial dance, the sanbaso, to welcome this new stage into being. The operators sit behind them on small rolling boxes—a technique known as kuruma ningyo—stamping the puppets’ feet, turning the floor into sacred space by treading on it in just the right way.”
– Helen Shaw, Time Out New York