“The Return” is a hybrid puppet show and group art exhibition, with eight performances taking place at CPM Gallery, 1512 Bolton st, Baltimore, MD 21217 on:
Saturday, September 17th : 2-3pm & 8-9pm
Sunday, September 18th : 2-3pm & 6-7pm
Saturday, September 24th : 2-3pm & 8-9pm
Sunday, September 25th : 2-3pm & 6-7pm
In The Return, a woman relives her near-death experience in an effort to cope with her past and to remember what she learned on the other side in order to move forward. This exploration of what it means to live significantly is examined through a multi-artist collaboration of marionette puppetry, sculpture, painting projection, and sound installation to consider what contemplating death within a culture prone to death-denial can teach us.
The idea to do a puppet show at CPM arose at the beginning of covid in mid-2020, when much of our lives were controlled by fear, uncertainty, and the state. For many people, the novelty of being home alone for long periods, unsure about their future, became a heightened experience of being precariously close to death. Covid created a communal near-death experience (NDE), where people from different walks of life all around the world may have gone through a similar process of vacillating between existential crisis and revelation. This show is about returning into our lives with a new sense of purpose and clarity that can only come out of an extended meditation on the simultaneity of being both alive and near-death. In The Return the gallery, the home, the artwork, and the mind become a theatre in which the known and the unknown weave together into stories that give us purpose.
The script for The Return was written with these ideas in mind, and references real stories of individual NDE experiences and what people have claimed to see and feel on the other side of life, before being returned to their bodies. In The Return it is never stated explicitly what the NDE event is—the protagonist addresses the audience with an existential exploration of meaning in her life, now that she has been given a second chance.
This exhibition will incorporate the works of 5 contemporary artists who have made works that are responding to and engaging with the 5 acts of the play. An enormous thank you to all of the collaborators involved in this project, who have given meaning and direction to this show as it has developed over the last two years:
Mark Fox – Producer of “The Return”, marionette and set design
Megan Murtha – Writer of “The Return” Script and Director of performance
Zoë Geltman – Lead marionette performer
Emma Wiseman – Marionette performer
Andrew Brehm – kinetic sculpture
Luba Drozd – sound installation
Florencia Escudero – hanging sculpture
Meredith James – ceramic sculptures
Reid Ramirez – miniature slide paintings and light projections