In the Heart of the Fire 2018

In the Heart of the Fire, we brought our hearts, minds, and senses together to explore the paradoxical gift of fire in a wondrous spectacle. We asked, “What makes us who we are as humans? Is it our cleverness, the machines we forge and the towers we build? Or is it the stories we share and the fire in our hearts?” We told tales of fire, of giants and trolls, of trickster creators and how we came to be different from the other animals.

Fire is deeply woven into the human experience. From the earliest people finding fire in lightning struck trees, to the height of our scientific discoveries, to the passion we put into our art. The difference it made in our evolution to have light and warmth in the darkness. Fire, like story and humanity itself, is unpredictable yet, full of endless potential. Fire moves, consumes, and dances, as we did in 2018’s giant puppet spectacle for all, celebrating the good fire!

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of restoration and re-story-ation, where we create our new story together with art, inspiration, and love. This path in action can be a powerful tool of transformation and healing,” says Donovan Zimmerman, Paperhand co- creator. “Whenever I read old stories from anywhere around the world, I notice the characters being marginalized and demonized and wonder how they would tell it. Trolls and tricksters are deeply woven into our human tapestry of myth, and therefore worthy of our attention.”

“Making giant trolls is a blast” Says Paperhand co- creator Jan Burger. “ It takes lots of hands to make an oversized puppet. We draw and sculpt them, and build a skeleton out of repurposed backpacks and tubing. We dress them and make hair with burlap and twists of old roving. It’s really fun when suddenly in rehearsal the troll rises up and looks you in the eye.”