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[Premiere] Gaze Into the Depths of Space and Time… with Puppets!

Things get a bit… weird, as these puppets attempt to review a book.
August 4, 2016, 12:20pm
Mary Broomfellow contemplates the complexities of identity in the latest episode of The Creatures of Yes. Directed by Jacob and Caleb Graham. Photo courtesy of Jacob Graham.

From touching water for the first time, to drawing pictures, to discussing science and technology, The Creatures of Yes puppets are always trying to engage their audience. In the newest video, premiering today on The Creators Project, one of the puppets begins a book review, and that's when things get cosmic The Creators Project spoke to Jacob Graham, creator and co-director with his brother Caleb, about the inspirations for the video, working with new techniques, and incorporating more than just humor into the webseries.

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Fade in and out of reality with The Creatures of Yes. Directed by Jacob and Caleb Graham. Photo courtesy of Jacob Graham.

The story follows one of the main cast members, the mystic Mary Broomfellow. “Mary attempts to do a book review and gets really carried away,” explains Graham. “She's just read this book, she's really excited about it, and she's having a glass of wine and enjoying herself. This is what she does for fun.” Graham explains that the idea for the episode wasn’t meant to go in the directions that it does. “We had this idea to do book reviews as a way to make short interesting little videos just to keep our activity up, but then we got really carried away with this video, it kind of turned into a monster, but we just decided to let it go and meander wherever it wanted to this time. So this video that was meant to just be a little thing ended up being our most labored over to date.”

As Mary contemplates the meaning of faces and identity, the footage gives way to dreamy landscapes and strange-but-pleasant footage. “With this video we tried a few different things we hadn't done before. One was making a classic animation cel (ink on acetate plastic painted from behind) for the exterior shot of Mary's cottage. We also did some experiments with colored dyes in water for the second half. We had done that a little before but really went crazy this time.” The result is a hazy, happy, colorful exploration of abstraction.

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Mary Broomfellow at home in her cottage on The Creatures of Yes. Directed by Jacob and Caleb Graham. Photo courtesy of Jacob Graham.

Graham says this video marks a further move in a new direction for the videos. “When I began I really only had comedy in mind, maybe with a few sad moments. Now I'm very interested in incorporating suspense and even spirituality.” This impulse of Graham’s, to add depth and ask big questions, sets this puppet show apart from others. Often relegated to either strict children’s fare or gross-out humor, the puppetry in The Creatures of Yes is allowed to be honest and mature, without being necessarily being bawdy or derivative. And the response has been huge: “I'm surprised by the reaction we've gotten," Graham says. "I had no idea if anyone would find this interesting at all, but we've had so much encouragement and we’ve even been asked to perform live, which we just started doing in Brooklyn a couple weeks ago.”

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Watch the latest episode below:

To catch The Creatures of Yes live and see other videos from the project, check out their website.

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