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The Independent EyeStage

For more than 40 years, The Independent Eye has toured the USA, logging over 3,000 shows in big cities and tiny towns, from Off-Broadway to church basements, even in people’s living rooms. The magic of human connection can happen anywhere, and does.

Current and Upcoming Shows

2015
King Lear

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Two actors. Twenty puppets. Shakespeare’s fiery text. Lear is the puppeteer of his own puppet show, the solo human in his motherless kingdom of power and commodity. Like Dante’s damned souls, caught in a perpetual hell particular to each, Lear obsessively plays out his loss of power, friendship, shelter, sanity, and at last even hope.  The Fool is his withered soul, an acid clown who torments Lear, stage-manages his story, and finally disappears into Lear’s madness.

Sprung from The Independent Eye’s series of landmark actor/puppet stagings — Macbeth, The Tempest, Frankenstein, Descent of Inanna — this King Lear features Conrad Bishop as Lear, Elizabeth Fuller as the Fool, with Fuller’s music score in a warm, inviting setting that offers some shelter against the storm.

Production details, photos, reviews

For booking information, email us.

2013-2014
Gifts


A duo show with Bishop & Fuller playing characters resembling themselves, plus puppets, objects, an electric sander, a steering wheel, and a pepper grinder. More information.

It is available free to hosts for house concerts and intimate venues. To date, it’s played 45 performances cross-country, to exuberant response. Contact us.

and from our most recent productions...
October 7-30, 2011
Frankenstein
Co-produced by The Independent Eye and 6th Street Playhouse, Santa Rosa, CA

Adapted by Conrad Bishop & Elizabeth Fuller from Mary Shelley’s classic novel, this Frankenstein is the story of a man who, tormented by the death of his mother, seeks to conquer death by making birth obsolete. They have revisioned their 1998 adaptation for three actors, two dozen puppets, music and video creating an ironic clown-show as unsettling— and daffy— as today’s news.

A DVD of the live stage performance is available for purchase.

Production details, photos, reviews

June 10-12, 2011
Hands Up!
FURY Factory Festival 2011, San Francisco, CA

Six farcical meditations on mortality, created and performed as live puppet animations by Conrad Bishop & Elizabeth Fuller. Our repertoire of characters range from hand puppets and jointed dolls and masks to near-lifesize creatures.

A weed-maddened gardener attacks an intruder that just won’t stop growing, but has to cope with the fact that it loves him anyway. An unwitting housewife opens the door to two clown Messengers of Doom. And a man with five minutes to live races the clock to finish his “Five Stages of Dying” before the gong sounds. In “The Death of Howdy Doody,” an elderly lawyer confesses to carrying out the court-authorized murder of a marionette— a true story, in fact. Two elders, seeing their younger selves about to end their love affair, offer earnest but unheeded advice. And in “At the Prom with Kali,” a high school kid at the Senior Prom takes a roller-coaster ride through life with the goddess of Life and Time.

September 2009
The Tempest
Produced in collaboration with Sonoma County Repertory Theater, Sebastopol, CA

Shakespeare’s classic comedy/drama of redemption, newly envisioned as a live theatrical animation with puppets, masks, live actors, and a rich audio score. Directed and designed by Conrad Bishop, music by Elizabeth Fuller. Featuring Bishop, Anthony Abate, Jessica Bauman, Benjamin Stowe, and Jan Freifeld as the actor/animators of Shakespeare’s unforgettable panoply of magician, spirits, slaves, courtiers and lovers.

The full production from 2009 is now available on DVD! See Media for details. Here’s a 10-minute preview:

January 2009
Rash Acts

Written by Conrad Bishop & Elizabeth Fuller, Rash Acts was described by American Theatre Magazine in its earlier East Coast version as “a series of highly premeditated acts of imagination and intelligence.” A young couple trapped for life on the freeway, an aged widower beset by swarms of telemarketers, a dead queen resurrected in shadow, a magical baby who grows too big for his diaper, and a grown-up Alice who falls down the rabbit hole into the evening news. With thirty-two puppets, directed and designed by Bishop, with music by Fuller.

May 2008
Descent of the Goddess Inanna, Trenton NJ, 5:42 p.m.

Created by Conrad Bishop & Elizabeth Fuller in an entirely new staging by The Independent Eye’s Mythic Kitchen ensemble. Based on a 5,000-year-old Sumerian myth from the land that is now Iraq, this live theatrical animation features 17 large puppets, 8 actors, music, video, and the dazzling richness, broad humor and erotic imagery of the ancient texts. A stunning tale of a goddess’s coming of age, mating, death and rebirth, it’s the earliest recorded resurrection story—and one for today.

Production details, photos, reviews

2007
Dream House

Our solo clown nightmare featuring Elizabeth Fuller and her seven sisters, all named Elizabeth—the Developer, the Plumber, the Dreamer, the Inspector, the Gambler, the Slut—trying to build a workable identity out of wigs, ladders, and plumbing pipe. “It’s what Allen Ginsberg might have written had he been a woman.”—North Bay Bohemian

Production details, photos, reviews

July/September 2006
Ragnarok
Created in collaboration with Shotgun Players, Berkeley, CA

The ancient Norse equivalent of the Apocalypse. The Gods see themselves under dire threat of attack by the Primal Ones, and, in the name of security, methodically set up the means of their own self-destruction.

Production details, photos, reviews

November 2005
Drake's Drum
By Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller, produced in collaboration with Sonoma County Repertory Theater, Sebastopol, CA

On his historic round-the-world voyage, Francis Drake put his friend Sir Thomas Doughty on trial for sedition, mutiny and black magic. A death sentence. Then the prosecutor and the condemned sat down privately to a sumptuous meal. What did they talk about? And in another time zone, a young woman drives to L.A. on a business trip, but finds herself haunted by Drake and Doughty, munching French fries.

Production details, photos, reviews

May 2005
Long Shadow
By Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller, produced in collaboration with Foothill Theatre, Nevada City, CA

Gold Rush country. Wartime, 1944. Justice and community fragmentation in a climate of fear. A local war hero is killed while hunting. Suspicion falls on “Wild Bill” Ebaugh, a long-haired eccentric rumored to run naked in the woods, have many lovers, poach livestock and serenade the hills. A bounty is posted, a young man shoots him dead and collects three hundred bucks. Justice or murder? Was Ebaugh a dangerous psychotic or a gentle giant? The ensuing firestorm of controversy cast a long shadow over Nevada County for decades. The play centers on three families: those of the murder victim, the relentless sheriff, and the young bounty hunter.

Production details, photos, reviews

Chronicle

photos, scripts & notes from our 30+ years of work

Residencies

touring shows, workshops & creative collaborations

  • from Gifts
  • from Frankenstein
  • from Hands Up!
  • from The Tempest
  • from Rash Acts
  • from Descent of the Goddess Inanna
  • from Dream House
  • from Ragnarok
  • from Drake’s Drum
  • from Long Shadow