Paul Zaloom (United States of America)

The Adventures of White-Man

Paul Zaloom is one of the most renowned American puppeteers and his weapons of choice - puppetry and humor - are used to disarm the audience and make everybody laugh their heads off while tackling (serious) social and political issues. 

19 May at 9.30pm (Friday)
20 and 21 May at 7pm (Saturday and Sunday)
Portuguese Premiere

Writer, designer, and performer: Paul Zaloom Writer, dramaturg, puppet builder, stage and set designer: Lynn Jeffries Direction and additional writing: Randee Trabitz Video tech: Darryl Yong Stage construction: Sandy Adams Photography: Johanna Austin Supports: National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by the Flynn Performing Arts Center, Burlington, Vermont, in partnership with Dance Place in Washington, D.C.; Center for Puppetry Arts, Atlanta, Georgia; and NPN. Creation Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts; Jim Henson Foundation Acknowledgements: Lynn Jeffries, Randee Trabitz, Bread and Puppet Theater, Jim Henson Foundation, Grand Performances, National Performance Network, National Endowment for the Arts, Arnie Molina do Flynn Center in Burlington, Sandy Adams, Darryl Yong, Amanda Zaloom Technique: Object theatre Language: English, with Portuguese subtitles For audiences over: +14 Running time: 50 min.

"One of the most original and talented political satirists working in the theater."
- Stephen Holden, New York Times

Paul Zaloom is one of the most renowned American puppeteers, political satirist, filmmaker, and performance artist. In The Adventures of White-Man, Zaloom employs the old school, drawing room medium of toy theatre to tell the story of the archetypical "white man" and his travails, projected in real time onto a screen.

The puppet cast is drawn from the vast Zaloom’s collection of toy cars, action figures, dolls, tchotchkes, puppets, and other kitsch and junk. White-Man leaves his planet Caucazoid and lands on planet Earth in order to civilize it. Once he has improved the lives of the “natives” of the world, he becomes a philanthropist, kicks “illegal immigrants” out of the USA, fights “Socialism”, and finally realizes with shock and horror that white folks will become a minority in the U.S. in 2040. What will White-Man do?  

Zaloom’s weapons of choice - puppetry and humor - are used to disarm the audience and make everybody laugh their heads off while tackling (serious) social and political issues. The issue is not depicted only through the aspect of the race, but also through the concept of chastity, morality, innocence and "civilization".

"If you have never seen the great and sincerely scathing Paul Zaloom in action, here's your chance... You'll laugh till you cry."
- Holland Cotter, New York Times

"(...) A scathingly hilarious political satirist. He’s a real original. His brilliance lies in his mad whimsy. And he’s a goofily inventive puppeteer."
- Lloyd Richards, Washington Post

“(...) His vocal characterizations are outstanding. They are a driving force in the show. The writing, credited to Zaloom and his collaborator Lynn Jeffries, is hilarious in a tongue-in-cheek, vaudeville inspired sort of way. There are a lot of corny puns and sight gags (...). Still, they give us a fair amount to think about in terms of how race relations have changed over the years. (...)  As with all toy theater, the puppet designs are mostly manufactured toys, dolls and objects so the creative manner in which the puppeteer uses them as characters is where the design comes into play. Zaloom and Jeffries (and director Randee Trabitz) are extremely creative in how they represent the world with these objects. I really enjoyed the design and extraordinary execution of the show. It’s like watching a grown kid play with dolls. It made me feel like a kid again. I left filled with a sense of delight and playfulness. I think you’ll have the same experience.”
- Richard Hinojosa, nytheater

“(...) Paul Zaloom may be a madman in the world of puppeteering,  but there is a method to his madness. He is not your usual fly-by-night zany. The Obie award-winning artist has garnered four NEA Fellowships, three Jim Henson awards, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Zaloom was among the early members of Bread and Puppet Theater, and as a solo artist he has created 15 shows in which he fearlessly tackles one social issue after another. Put another way: he had to rein himself in to play the wacky scientist Beakman in the Emmy-winning children’s television show Beakman’s World. (...).
- David Greenham, The Arts Fuse

Paul Zaloom is a comedic puppeteer, political satirist, filmmaker, and performance artist who lives and works in Los Angeles and tours his work all over the world. Zaloom has written, designed and performed 13 full length solo spectacles, including Fruit of Zaloom, Zaloominations, Sick But True, Velvetville, The Mother of All Enemies and the current spectacle, White Like Me: A Honky Dory Puppet Show.
At age 19, while still in college, Zaloom joined the Bread and Puppet Theater, the renowned, Vermont-based, avant-garde puppet company. He has continued to work with this seminal group every summer since 1972.
Zaloom is widely recognized as one of the pioneers of object theatre in America and worldwide. 
At age 19, while still in college, Zaloom joined the Bread and Puppet Theater, the renowned, Vermont-based, avant-garde puppet company. He has continued to work with this seminal group every summer since 1972.
In the past 36 years of solo work, Zaloom has exploited other forms of puppetry: toy theater, rod puppets, marionettes, shadow puppets, overhead projections, Bunraku-style puppets, cantastoria (story telling with pictures), hand puppets, and ventriloquism.
Since 1992, Zaloom has also appeared on the cult favorite, science educational TV show, Beakman's World, as Beakman, the wacked-out, weirdo scientist who answers viewers' questions about science, nature, and various bodily functions.
Zaloom co-wrote and produced In Smog and Thunder, the film depicts a fictional war between Fog Town (San Francisco) and Los Angeles (Smog Town). Zallom co-conceived, co-wrote and was head puppeteer in a feature length puppet film of Dante's Inferno, an official selection at the 2007 Slamdance Film Festival, Dante was acquired by New York's Museum of Modern Art in early 2013 for the permanent collection.
Zaloom has won some prizes and been awarded grants, Village Voice OBIE, American Theater Wing Design Award, New York Dance and Performance Award BESSIE, L.A. Weekly Critics' Award, Four Citations of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry from the Union Internationale de la Marionnette, a.k.a. UNIMA-USA; Guggenheim Fellowship, Four National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, Three Henson Foundation Grants and grants from Art Matters, California Arts Council, New York State Council on the Arts, the Durfee, L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs, New York Foundation for the Arts, and others.

Randee Trabitz did a little show in Berlin, took a version of Sophocles’ Electra to Delphi, Greece and staged a pirate musical on a Disney Cruise Ship. In LA, she’s done a mess of solos with NEA-banned performance artist extraordinaire John Fleck and a bigger mess with cheeky puppet kingpin Paul Zaloom. Her work has been seen at small theaters like: Katselas Theater (Flim Flam), The Lounge (The Artificial Jungle) SOSE (Molly Sweeney) Open Fist (St. Joan and the Dancing Sickness) RedCat (Mother of All Enemies) Hollywood Court (Duel) Café Largo (She Haw) Fountain (Ancient History) and The Tiffany (The Mystery of Irma Vep). She worked in some big places too, like MOCA’S Geffen Contemporary (Happy End) California Adventure Themepark (Chance to Shine) the L.A. Opera (Jack and the Magic Songbird) and the Performing Arts Center in Santa Clarita (Lysistrata, Hair).  Some of her work has won some prizes and been awarded grants. She often works developing new plays with writers like: Bridget Carpenter, Jessica Goldberg (ASK Theater Projects), Jami Brandli, etc. (Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum), Susan Merson, etc. (Ensemble Studio Theater, West) and Julie Hébert at The Open Fist Theater.

Lynn Jeffries is a puppeteer and set, costume and puppet designer. Recent puppet designs include The Borrowers at South Coast Rep, Culture Clash's Peace at the Getty Villa, Project Wonderland and The Gogol Project at the Bootleg Theater, and Don Quixote at Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  In an ongoing collaboration with  puppeteer/performance artist Paul Zaloom, she has built puppets, dramaturged, designed, and puppeteered on numerous projects, including The Mother of All Enemies, The Abecedarium, White Like Me: a Honky Dory Puppet Show, and the film Dante's Inferno. She also performs solo shadow puppet shows in nightclubs with the neo-vaudevillian folk/jazz band, The Ditty Bops. As a founding member of Cornerstone Theater Company (since 1986), she has designed over sixty productions with and for people of diverse communities in Los Angeles and across the country. Regional theater work includes set, costume and puppet designs for Arena Stage, The Guthrie, Long Wharf Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory, and TheatreWorks. She has won a Theatre LA Ovation Honor and a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for puppet design; a Backstage West Garland Award and a Drama-Logue Award for scenic design; and a Backstage West Garland Award for costume design.