Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Creatures to Haunt HighBall Courtesy of Todd Decker and Alex Bandar

Designers Todd Decker and Alex Bandar have been working on some spooky, fantastic fun for this year’s HighBall Halloween celebration. Inspired by the work of designers before them, they have created “puppets” that will mingle among the masses at the event.
The 12-feet-tall wearable puppets are new to this year’s event.  The idea is the brainchild of HighBall Halloween event coordinator John Angelo, hoping to add an element of the unexpected to the HighBall experience. Angelo, inspired by 12-feet-tall wearable puppets he had seen in a parade at Disney World, wanted to bring some of this whimsical, fantastic charm to Columbus’ biggest Halloween party.
“He (Angelo) approached me a while back with a design that he assimilated from concepts created at similar events - for example, (Brazilian) Carnival, Bread and Puppet Theater and The Lion King,” said Bandar, founder of the Columbus Idea Foundry, a community space devoted to teaching introductory, hands-on art classes.
            The puppets will surely be a sight to behold, as they stray away from the traditional puppet concept.
            “The puppets are made from styrofoam, wood, fiberglass, fabric and hardware, all wrapped in fabric,” said Decker, also of Olympic Theatre Productions
            Bandar explained the complex way the figures move.
            “The whole assembly is affixed to a military-style backpack harness worn by the performer.  The ‘hands’ of the puppets have bamboo rods that the dancer/ puppeteers hold, so that as they raise their own hands, the puppets arms rise up as well.  The puppets "feet" are attached to the puppeteer/dancer's feet with PVC fixtures, so that as they walk and dance, the legs of the puppets also rise, step, walk, and dance,” he said.  Take a look at this sneak peek of BOBO while he's still being developed:

            The two men are looking forward to bringing their unique vision to a brand new audience, one that may not normally be exposed to their creations.
            “My favorite things about Columbus are the sense of independent spirit; the combination of small-town goodwill, and yet, big-city technological and cultural actors and organizations; and the fact that there is a very supportive and enthusiastic community of people who are willing to jump on board with an idea, no matter how practical, impractical, mischievous or crazy,” said Bandar.
            This description also seems to fit the spirit of Highball Halloween, Oct 28, 5 p.m.- 1 a.m.