The multi-media puppet show The Paper Hat Game, now playing at the 3LD Art and Technology Center, is an unexpected delight.
Created and directed by Torry Bend, this beguiling theatrical experience portrays the semi-true story of Scotty Iseri, a subway rider who one day decided to make paper hats from the newspapers left beside him, and then, with a simple and childlike spontaneity, decided to give them to his fellow passengers to wear. He continued his innocent prank with no expectations or hidden agenda but to bring joy and a smile to the hardened commuters of a tough and fast-paced city.
Through the medium of toy theater, projection, and magnificent puppetry designed by Aaron Haskell, we are whisked away to his world, where images transform and morph, and where real hands appear as part of the set to make paper hats. It’s a transcendent experience as we delve into the psychology of a large and busy metropolis and witness the subsequent responses from commuters who, due to their fear and suspicion of his motive, react to the paper hat-making ingénue with harsh words and even violence. The story is filled with emotion as we are forced to see the bitter truth: that some people have become so untrusting that they would rather attack and end a kindhearted gesture than accept it for the innocent and unencumbered gift that it is.
The highly innovative video and photo motion animation by Raquel Salvatella de Prada will have you questioning what is real and what is imagined. Subway carriages become large and then small again as walls disappear. Walls crush our hero in his apartment in a moment of claustrophobic panic, and the Manhattan skyline has never looked so enticing with creatively envisioned telephone connections conveyed with lights.
The Paper Hat Game is both joyous in its childlike wonder and emotionally brave and revealing in its storytelling. It is a most unique theatrical experience that will satisfy all your senses and leave you questioning the psyche of a society too far buried in its fast race of subways and skyscrapers.