Taxidermy Puppets!!!!! SING FOR YOUR LIFE!

Recently I performed an excerpt from the musical  'SING FOR YOUR LIFE!' at the first Dark Fabrics Cabaret; A cross between the X Factor and Pet Rescue.
In the week before I managed to scrape together a fox which was specially couriered up from my mum's freezer in Dorset. Poor woman.....
This fox was found by my sister and her friend. 
As you can see they're having a great time. The fox obviously hadn't. There wasn't a scratch on her which leads me to suspect poison! 
She was a beauty.  So so stunning. Took at least 3 days to semi defrost. Here's how the puppet was made. . . .
STEP ONE: Defrost Fox
STEP 2: Skin Fox
STEP 3: Try and make the fox look like a fox again
To give the head a shape instead of just flopping around I used a badger skull. If I had a fox skull I would have used that but I didn't so a badger had to do. It's wider and shorter but by padding the skull out with sanitary towels, eventually it started to actually look good. A first for me.
STEP 4: Add the eyes. This is when shit gets real



Previously I'd made a badger puppet who sang at the Hundred years gallery way back in May. Tonight they would be made to compete. To sing for their lives and the chance to be immortalised forever.  
My extra special puppeteer Mr Wacko Jacko. Holistic entertainer extraordinaire!!!
In the nick of time Foxy was ready to perform.




This was not your typical Christmas Cabaret. A fantastic night with 6 other original, talented and genuinely funny acts entertained a paying audience. It was great. Usually you go to cabaret and at least one thing is a bit shit- All the performers were hand-picked geniuses. Storytellers, drag, comedy, puppetry, pole dancing... 10- 15 mins each BOOM BOOM BOOM.

It’s not what I’m used to but I LOVED IT! Yes I think I’ve found my calling. The D.I.Y Taxidermy Shows are a lot of pressure. Having to hold the attention of an audience for an hour+ being funny/engaging whilst simultaneously skinning an animal is hard. You are in constant dialogue and it’s all unscripted verbal diarrhoea. 

I used to do a lot of musical theatre when I was younger (I got an A for my GCSE’s) but something happened where I just stopped. I went a bit mad, flunked my A levels quite spectacularly, ran away from home and decided to become an artist instead. I made a lot of dark things and continued to do so for about 7 years. Until now. I'm retiring from ‘artwork’ unless inspiration strikes. At the moment I’m more interested in creating beauty and madness, let's forget about the sadness.

 I just love to perform!
 But there is always that deeper level of meaning. Through all the singing and dancing and arms/legs waving about there is a point to what might come across as just pure lighthearted entertainment.

SING FOR YOUR LIFE addresses our relationship to death. How there is hierarchy and hypocrisy in life, what we invest meaning in and when we choose to invest it.
No one cares when you're roadkill but give the animal a voice in an all singing all dancing musical and suddenly it’s important. . People are confronted by the reality of death. If you don’t see how can you care and if you don’t care how can you change? When something is squashed in the road we laugh, we stare and we drive by. The memory disappears almost as fast as it arrived on our screens.

Well  you won’t forget the road-kill characters from SING FOR YOUR LIFE! They certainly have a voice, and leave a lingering smell too. I don’t give the animals a wash after skinning so the fox smells like wet dog mixed with Shake ‘n’ vac and the badger smells like, well what badgers are supposed to smell like….but mixed with shake ‘n’vac. I want all the senses to be alive. I want people to experience something real rather than it be neatly packaged, completely clean and ultimately a sterile air brushed version of itself  No way! I want reality, I want to feel real.

To have that much reality is scary. Fear and laughter are closely linked. We laugh when we can’t do anything else and we fear what we don’t understand.

We fear death.  So we might as well laugh at it.

Anyway this is starting to feel dark.

At the end of the performance the audience were asked to cast their vote by either howling or shouting BANG BANG. The crowd went wild for wildlife, ultimately choosing the seductive charms of a sexy Vulpine. I wish it has been recorded more but alas! At least there's some photo evidence this time!
More photos HERE



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