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First-year art students to participate in performance

Cave Dog cast members demonstrate shadow puppetry in Freshman Foundations

Cave Dog cast members demonstrate shadow puppetry in Freshman Foundations

Less than a week after they started their Freshman Foundation classes in the School of Art & Design at Alfred University, students will be participating in two performances with a troupe of visiting artists called Cave Dogs as part of the Freshman Foundation Fall Performance Project.

The two student performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2, in Holmes Auditorium, Harder Hall, on the Alfred University campus, to be followed by the Cave Dogs’ performance of its current show, Sure-minded Uncertainties.
Performances are open to the public, free of charge.

"Cave Dogs performances consist of innovative, large-scale shadow projections cast onto a screen from sculptures, props, costumes, and the human body," explained Suzanne Stokes, artistic director for Cave Dogs. "Cast shadows move in concert with projected video imagery, spoken narrative, and an original soundtrack. Cave Dogs tells life stories by creating visual tableaus, and creates effects that conjure both the dreamlike quality of early experimental film and the humor of contemporary animation - all of which charm, challenge, and captivate adults and children alike."

The current production, Sure-minded Uncertainties, explores science and nature "through the alternative lenses of micro and macro perspectives, situations and experiences," Stokes said. "A range of characters and modern day archetypes, including a chrysalis, a tree puller, a storyteller, a tailor and a scientist, navigate a series of transformations throughout four scenes interweaving the nature of the universe, and humanity to technology in their fundamentally similar, but often incongruous worlds."

Members of the troupe are visiting artists this week - classes began today - in the Division of Foundations, leading students in a series of workshops that will culminate in the Friday evening performances.

Cave Dogs members are Stokes, James Fossett, Ted Conway, Douglass Keller, Adam Mastropaolo, Maria Jansdotter-Farr and Trudy Trutwin. Dean Jones created the soundtrack.

Cave Dogs attracts a diverse audience with varying levels of experience with art and performance. In this unique shadow medium, Cave Dogs tells life stories that charm, intrigue, challenge, and captivate adults and children alike. The text, visual imagery, and sounds weave together to create a rich multi-media artifact that documents, preserves, and celebrates important cultural voices and stories. The exploration of this landscape is part documentary and, in the tradition of Cave Dogs, part fictionalized realism developed through extensive research, live recordings, and written preservation of oral traditions.

Cave Dogs performances include Sure-minded Uncertainties (2010), Archaeology of a Storm. (2008), Ferrous City (2002), How to Build a Raft (1998), Emily's Circus (1994), Sustenance (1993), Fall of Perception (1992), and Shadows of Doubt and Other Precarious Truths (1991).

New York performances include, Power House Theater at Vassar College, The Woodstock Fringe Festival, P.S. 122 (NYC), Henry Street Settlement (NYC), HERE (NYC), The Woodstock Comeau Property, The Widow Jane Mine and the Julien J. Studley Theatre and McKenna Theatre at SUNY New Paltz. Other performances included extended runs at Mobius (Boston), as well as engagements at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), The Massachusetts College of Art, The Cambridge Multicultural Art Center and Boston College and The Center For Contemporary Art in Santa Fe, NM.

Cave Dogs have received multiple grants from both The Jim Henson Foundation (NYC), and Franklin Furnace (NYC). They have also received a grant from the NLT Foundation (Boston, MA).

For further information, contact Angie To, associate professor and chair of the Division of Foundations in the School of Art & Design, at

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