The Paper Hat Game

The Paper Hat Game (EXCERPT)

The Paper Hat Game, in collaboration with director Torry Bend, investigates the act of riding the train using puppetry and video. The performance allows us to explore integration of two starkly different media. Puppetry is ephemeral and uncanny offering a moment of connection between audience and performer in a three dimensional world. With it comes the uncertainty of improvisation, malfunction and physical and technological limitations. With computer graphics, in contrast, one can create almost anything, but the interaction is limited to 2 dimensions and rarely allows the performers to directly connect with the audience. Our goal was to determine ways by which a combination of the two media, video and puppetry, can capitalize on the advantages of each. We achieved this through projection techniques, graphic elements and video fragmentation, allowing the improvisation of live performance while blurring the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds to create a dream-like atmosphere.


After the successful first run a Duke’s Sheafer Lab Theater in September 2011, we completely reworked parts of the show. The second iteration was subsequently named Best Design and Best Production of Triangle Theater in 2012 by the Indy Week a regional alternative weekly newspaper. It has been nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience. The nomination was announced on April 27 and is based on performances that took place at The Tank/ 3-Legged Dog in New York city in June and July of 2016 with a The New York Times review.  

In July 2017, we were awarded a Citation of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry for our collaboration. The citation, presented by the American Center of the Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA-USA), was announced during the National Puppetry Festival in Minnesota this summer. Founded in 1929, UNIMA-USA is dedicated to promote international understanding and friendship through the art of puppetry.


Created and Directed: Torry Bend
Video and Projection Design: Raquel Salvatella 
Cinematography: Steve Milligan, Raquel Salvatella
Lighting Design: Jeanette Yew
Sound Design: Colbert S. Davis IV
Puppet Design: Torry Bend, Sarah Krainin, Tarish Pipkins


3-Legged Dog, New York, NY – 2016
National Puppetry Festival, Uconn, Masfield, CT – 2015
The Den Theater, Chicago, IL – 2013
Open Eye Theater, Minneapolis, MN. – 2013
Great Small Works Toy Theater Festival, Brooklyn, NY – 2013
Manbites Dog Theater, Durham, NC. – 2012
Premiered at Sheafer Lab Theater, Duke University, Durham, NC – 2011

Trailer 2012
Trailer 2011

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *