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Hey, don’t talk about my friends and family like that! They are too a step up from mimes and improv performers. They’re puppeteers.

This year’s adult puppet show at Bozeman’s Verge Theater will be Fri-Sat May 12-27 2017. The show, written by comedian Ryan Cassavaugh, is called “Freak Out.” It was described to me as “a hippie blood cult B-movie musical.” So it’s got that going for it. Among a talented cast of actor/singer/puppeteers, my daughter, Wren, plays the part of the cult-leader’s daughter. Proud moments in parenthood!

I was asked to help with props, so I said yes to painting a police car and two motorcycles. Little did I know that this didn’t mean just the gas tank (easy!) it meant the motorcycle chassis: not a thing I felt overly confident about.

Here, puppeteers Pol Llovet and Ryan Lawrence Flynn experiment with their motorcycles-to-be, after cutting out plywood shapes in the back room of Sadie Cassavaugh’s frame shop (Frugal Frame Shop). Somehow they’re planning to add a front wheel, Easy Rider style. You’ll have to go see the show to see if they pull it off. 😉

(crew photo courtesy Ryan Cassavaugh)

These were some really rough canvases – made from a “canvas” drop-cloth, actually – so gessoing was the hardest part of the job. Paint doesn’t cover well on a rough surface, so I decided that a rough, painterly look was fine. I didn’t get too fussy with it.

The Police Car was really wide, but the sides were short, giving it a clown-car-like appearance. Appropriately.

Here’s what the motorcycle chassis looked like, unpainted.

First step was to paint all surfaces black. The laminate surface was smooth, so it only took a pint of “cheep” acrylic to cover all 8 sides. (It took just under a gallon of gesso to cover the three car canvases.)

The next step was to paint a bunch of mechanical looking doodads in white and bluish silver.

There were two sides of two cycles to do, so four sides in all.

Whew! I was glad I got them done early enough that the cast could rehearse with them. I am dying to see what the show looks like on stage!

Show times are 8pm Fri-Sat May 12-13, 19-20 and 26-27 2017. Tickets can be purchased in advance on Verge Theater’s Ticket page, or at the door while they last. The comedy is intended for mature audiences.

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