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The Animated Blake

Intro Prayers plow not! Praises reap not! --William Blake Acts Joys laugh not! Sorrows weep not! --William Blake Synopsis The head sublime, the heart Pathos, the genitals Beauty, the hands & feet Proportion. --William Blake ScreenSaviour As the air is to a bird or the sea to a fish, so is contempt to the contemptible. --William Blake T The crow wished every thing was black, the owl, that everything was white. --William Blake F.A.Q. Exuberance is beauty. --William Blake Reviews If the lion was advised by the fox. he would be cunning. --William Blake Credits


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Music by:
Bret Battey
Greg Brown
Finn Coren
Mike Westbrook
Jah Wobble

More details...

Poetry  William Blake
Script  James Jay

Rev'd Dr. All-in-One  James Jay
Usher/Acolyte  Jeff Deveaux
Ringmaster  Eros Belliveau

Director  Jenny Iacobucci
Producers  Jay Byler & Jenny Iacobucci
Publicity/Sponsorship Coordinator  Jeff Deveaux
Stage/Tech Manager  David Thomas

Sound Design  Bret Battey
Costume Design  Margot Ayer, Joanna Moon
Filmmaker  Ted Esser
Blake Slideshow  Inge Kaufmann
Prop Censers  Anat Pollack
Lights  Paul Grimes
Mask Design  Inge Kaufmann
Big Pop-up Book  Colin Ernst
Graphics  Bruce Fleming, Inge Kaufmann, Jay Byler
Website  Synapse Studio

Company Bios

The company that produced the premiere of The Animated Blake is drawn together by common interests in the literary, visual, and physical arts. Using a unique blend of theater, multimedia and dance intermingled with circus arts, Word Up explores the the written word through visual and physical manipulations of the text — literally and figuratively. The Animated Blake is Word Up's first feature-length production. Future productions may include "Some Snarks are Bojums: A Lewis Carroll Circus" and "Ta-Da Dada."

William Blake (Poet and engraver, 1757-1827) produced visionary artwork combining words and images. His illuminated manuscripts convey revolutionary religious, political, and social themes. Much of his work was drawn directly from conversations with spirits. His beloved wife Catherine said that she rarely had the gift of his presence because he was so often in the company of the divine.
     Blake's prophecies and poems range from the ingenious to, well, the incredible. The most consistent quality of his creative output is its utter uniqueness. Blake's work did not achieve critical acclaim until well after his death.
     Although he enjoyed a modest degree of patronage, Blake made his living as an engraver and printer.

James Jay (Juggler) graduated from Earlham College in 1990 with a BA in literature. During his senior year he enrolled in a juggling class (really), and an obsession commenced. In 1992 he conceived his Juggling Jukebox™ act and began street performing at the Pike Place Market. He has performed at festivals throughout the region, in addition to the streets of Europe.
     911 Media Arts Center commissioned Jay and composer Bret Battey to create the high-tech Juggling Jukebox in 1994. This performance installation wires a human juggler to a custom vending machine. The electronic music compositions are driven dynamically by Jay's juggling motions. He completed a BFA in sculpture at the University of Washington in 1996, working with ceramics, cast salt, and multiple media.
     Although his juggling earns a modest income, he makes the bulk of his living illuminating the World Wide Web.

Margot Ayer (Costume design) draws on a lifetime of multicultural experience and her multiracial roots to produce the costumes she designs. "My teens were spent in London," she says, "and, in fact like Blake, in Lambeth. In preparation for this production, I went back this Christmas to do research for the costumes in the Blake collection at the Tate Gallery. They were familiar to me, of course, from many a Saturday afternoon, but it was good to look at them again.
     Margot has created costumes for performances in England, Scotland, Thailand, Hong Kong and the US. "My grandfather owned one of the first model agencies for women of color in New York, my mother designed fashion in Thailand and Hong Kong — it was inevitable that I follow in their footsteps in one way or another."

Bret Battey's (Sound design) electronic, acoustic, and multimedia concert works and installations have been presented in diverse venues in the United States, Europe, and Asia, including: the Korean Electroacoustic Music Society Festival, the Bourges, France Synthse Festival, the Hungarian Radio Summer Electroacoustic Music Festival, the International Computer Music Conference, MTV Europe, Sonic Circuits V, Seattle Experimental Opera, and the Microsoft Advanced Technology Group. His work has received recognition from SEAMUS (the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States) and Prix Ars Electronica (Austria).
     He is currently a DMA student in music composition at the University of Washington, where he also completed his Masters work. He received a Bachelors of Music in Electronic and Computer Music from Oberlin Conservatory and has worked in Manhattan at the Philip Glass production studio and Studio PASS, a nonprofit studio for sound artists. Teachers in music composition and technology include Conrad Cummings, Joel-Francois Durand, Richard Karpen, Gary Nelson, and Diane Thome.

Eros Belliveau (Ringmaster) recently arrived in the Northwest. An actor and model, Eros made his first Seattle appearance in The Animated Blake.

Jay Byler (Producer) is an internet user interface designer, who works for Synapse Studio.

J.A. Deveaux (Acolyte, Publicity coordinator) While traveling Europe as a wandering vagabond, Jeff was inspired to quit working for insidious high-tech computer firms in order to become an iterant juggler after observing a juggling street performer making a simple living of it, and having a lot more fun at it too.

David Adam Edelstein (Photography) "I'm trying to remember... I think I did this, but I'm not sure. Did I? Who am I? Am I a man dreaming about being a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming about being a man?" David grew up in Hawaii and China, which may account for some of his strangeness. He uses his camera to explore the beauty and complexity he sees in the world around him.

Colin Ernst (Prop design — giant pop-up book) began his performing career as the Merry Monk four years ago on the streets of Prague and has since followed a winding, twisted, crooked path that led him to Seattle. Along the way he met Frog Prince Freddie, who soon became his nearest, dearest and only friend, and together they perform their wacky comedy and juggling act for audiences everywhere.

Ted Esser (Filmmaker) is a graduate of the University of Washington's School of Art and School of Communications programs. In 1997 he produced Midnight Theatre, a broadcast film festival featuring independently produced work from Washington, Portland and British Columbia for KCTS 9 Seattle. He has worked on several local independent films of small stature and is currently working on another season of Midnight Theatre.

Bruce Fleming (Graphic design) is a graphic artist who works at a Seattle advertising agency. He is available for professional consultation and glib opinions at

Paul Grimes (Lights) has enjoyed being part of many different theatre groups for many years. His technical credits include Colorado State University, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Open Stage Theatre Company, and various other comings and goings. He also enjoys performing, both juggling and stage work, and has been seen with the Seattle Theatre Project, Open Stage Theatre Company, and Play Factory.

Jenny Iacobucci (Director) has the privilege of making her directorial debut with The Animated Blake. As a collective member of the Vagabond Theater Company, she has worked on Vagabond's previous productions as stage manager for Seascape with Sharks and Dancer, and as assistant stage manager for Accomplice. Hot on the heels of the Blake show premiere, she appeared onstage in Vagabond's staging of "Trust."

Inge Kaufmann (Mask, Graphics, & Slides design) works as a landscape architect, loves to go hiking (like everybody else in Seattle), and makes a hell of an Apfelkuchen. Her name is pronounced like "sing everything" without the very-thing.

Joanna Moon (Costume design) works too much, but has been known to have time for fun. She reads extensively. Her family is very important to her. She was involved in theatre in college (acting, singing, directing, stage-managing, lights) and is pleased to be involved with this production.

Alex Ortiz (Intern) is Jay's "Little Brother." The youngest member of the company, Alex is a student of languages at Ingraham High School and speaks Japanese and French in addition to his native Engish.

Anat Pollack (Prop design — metal incense burners) studied sculpture and metal design at the University of Washington. She is a visual artist, currently working on independent multimedia shows as well as collaborating and designing sets for dance and theater. Her solo show "LOST, but with memory" premiered at the SOIL Gallery in February 1999.

David Thomas (Stage manager) is a displaced New Yorker with music, crafts, computers, psychology, astronomy and other sciences figuring strongly in his background. His recent life's pursuits are primarily drumming, art and computers. He juggles up to five balls competently, which he attributes to all the free time that comes with avoiding television.

 BLAKE Intro, Acts, Synopsis, ScreenSaviour, T, F.A.Q., Reviews, Credits

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