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‘The One and Only Stacy Laroo’
A live shadow puppet peep show created by Humble Wonder Theatre

Original concept and script by Lee Cookson
Puppets designed Lee Cookson and Tyler Longmire

Graphic design and performance by Tyler Klein Longmire
Poem on track performed by Bobbi Goddard

Originally created for the High Performance Rodeo Midway – January 2010
Revamped with other puppet shows for the International Festival of Animated Objects February 2011
Revamped again for the Old Trout Puppet Workshop’s Brief Festival – November 2012

My partner-in-crime at Humble Wonder Theatre, Lee Cookson, came to me asking if I could do up some posters and artwork for a  dirty shadow puppetry project he was working on for the 2010 High Performance Rodeo. I was in Calgary for Christmas that year and ended up helping Lee develop the show, making the puppets with him, and performing it at the Rodeo. We had a few other shows in rotation (one was about a guy who had a trombone for a dick), but ‘Stacy Laroo’ turned out to be the most popular by far! Get a couple drinks into people and they end up picking the smuttiest thing on offer…

This is the show where we first started using shadow puppets overlaid with video projections. Initially we used a slide projector for the beginning and end title cards, but for the second go-around of the puppet booth at the International Festival of Animated Objects, we started using a mini-projector to integrate the video more fluidly. Running everything off a laptop made doing 50 – 100 shows a night much smoother as well.

‘Stacy Laroo’ was our first foray into making transparent, but very cartoonish and colourful, shadow puppets. The method is to draw the puppet image in Photoshop, then print it out on a transparency, then laminate that transparency a few times to make it sturdy. Cut everything out, attach it to some wire, add some moving parts, and you’re good to go. This was conceived and developed by Lee during his experiments making the first couple shows, and us at Humble Wonder Theatre have been refining and expanding upon this technique ever since. It creates makes a more cartoon-like effect, but we do have to make up a lot of drawings and puppets to go through the scenes. Generally we make one central, more generic ‘base’ puppet of the title character, and then have a number of other puppets of the character ‘in action’. Some have joints, some are close-ups, some are in different poses – so for a 4 minute long show we may end up with 25 (or more) individual puppets.

We further developed this method and explored integrating animation and video in Humble Wonder’s subsequent Peculiar Puppetronic Phenomena shows, ‘The Butt Muncher’ and ‘Cowgrrl Bea’.