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kukeri-Pernik-Bulgaria

Kukeri in the Woodlands—Become a Magical Beast of the Forest

Annie Hallatt and Brenna MacCrimmon present a project to create kukeri-inspired Carnival characters to populate our parade, feast and party in the Mendocino Woodlands. In Bulgarian folk culture, masked kukeri chase away evil spirits and encourage good health, happiness and fertility during the New Year and Lenten seasons. Throughout Mendocino camp week a special work area will be available to teens, kids and elders to explore photos and documentation of traditional ceremonial masks and costumes, then to design a costume and construct it under the guidance of maskmaker Annie Hallatt.

Possible projects include the hairy, horned beasts called Dracs who dance with huge bells that we will make from tin cans, forest witches, and ridiculous clowns and fools. Each character will be arrayed in full costume. Materials will include papier mâché, cardboard, wooden frames, fur (real or not), feathers, fabric cut into fringe and fastened to existing clothing. Cool buttons and assorted strange bits will also find a home in our materials trunk.

We will make videos and photos available for you to get ideas from. We will bring paper for design sketches, as well as paint, clay, paste, hot glue, sewing stuff, and tin cans and hanging knobs to make our rattling bells sound.

Annie and Brenna have designed their kukeri project especially for young adults, but we encourage anyone who is interested to join in the fun. Project hours will be held outside of official workshop class hours.

Want to help create the magic? If you have gathered images of kukeri and Carnival in your Balkan travels (or even in your North American ones!) and would be willing to share them with us to help inform and inspire our creations we'd be most grateful. We'll be setting up a webpage for them before camp and will work out a way to make them viewable at the Woodlands as well. When you send us your images, please tell us as much as you can about when and where the image was taken, how to credit it, and let us know whether we may make these viewable online or just offline. Formats:  JPEG, GIF or PNG. Send your images and their accompanying information to earguest@gmail.com.

About Annie Hallatt:
Annie’s experience is first as an educator, then as a mask, puppet and set fabricator. Her inspiration comes from Anna Halprin and her Tamalpa community dance structures, Bread and Puppet Theatre, Antenna Theatre, outdoor theatre in Sausalito parks, Green Gulch community pageants with a four-person dancing elephant, and gold Buddha. See her website at www.masquearrayed.com

Annie encourages you to contact her directly if you have questions or want to start early on the project. Annie Hallatt, masques@mindspring.com, 510-548 8252.