D-Generation: An Exhaltation of Larks

Photo: Joe Mazza

About the show

A piece about play, joy, and communication. A piece about dementia.

After seven years of touring, Sandglass bids farewell to their award-winning show, D-Generation: An Exaltation of Larks, on May 24th and 25th at 7:30pm at the New England Youth Theatre, 100 Flat Street in Brattleboro.

From playful story circles to dark private terror…
From lyrical inner visions to demanding confrontations…
From the reflections of caregivers to the fragmented memories of residents of care facilities…
D-Generation evokes a complex world of people living with dementia.

D-Generation: An Exaltation of Larks is a full-length theater piece that explores the rich creative potential and ability to communicate that exists in people with late-stage dementia. The work is based on stories written collaboratively by groups of people with cognitive disorders. Their words, their images, and their creative imaginations yield work that is poetic, humorous, and quite mysterious. From these stories, Sandglass Theater forms scenes of the inner lives of the characters creating a piece that reflects the stigma and the acceptance, the despair and the joy that is equally present and possible in both the person with dementia and in their caregivers and family members. The work is performed by three puppeteers (the caregivers) and five puppets (the residents of a care-facility) set to a compelling original score and striking animated video segments. D-Generation takes us into a world that is all too much a part of our lives.

The collected stories, which are associative and non-linear, were gathered by Sandglass Theater’s performers during 20 visits to care facilities, during which circles of people with dementia were guided through a collective story–making method called Timeslips. These stories reveal humor and playfulness as well as the dark reality of the disease. They stand on their own as dramatic material from a remarkable source. The stories, and the compelling process of writing them, form the inspiration for D-Generation.

NEYT is a fully accessible theater. Tickets are $18 general and $16 for students and seniors and can be purchased by clicking the button below.

Directed by Roberto Salomon
Performed by Eric Bass, Ines Zeller Bass, Kirk Murphy
Music by Paul Dedell
Video by Michel Moyse
Lighting by Sabrina Hamilton
Puppets by Coni Richards, Ines Zeller Bass, Jana Zeller

Stories created by The Residents of Pine Heights at Brattleboro Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation using Timeslips, (a collective creative story telling model developed by Anne Basting).

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Artist Bios

Roberto Salomon, Director

Since 2003, Roberto Salomon has directed the Teatro Luis Poma, the first privately-owned theater functioning year-round in his native El Salvador. In Geneva, Switzerland, he has been directing and teaching theater for the past 25 years. This is his third production with Sandglass Theater.

Eric Bass, Performer, Co-Founding Artistic Director of Sandglass

Eric has worked for thirty years as a director, playwright, performer, and mask and puppet maker. In 1982, he founded Sandglass Theater in Munich, Germany, with his wife, Ines Zeller Bass. As a director, Eric has worked in America, Australia, Poland, and Finland, as well as the United States. In 1991, he was awarded the Figurentheater Prize of the City of Erlangen, Germany for his contributions to the field of puppet theater. He directed The Story of the Dog, a collaborative piece between Sandglass Theater and Sovanna Phum Theater in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which toured Cambodia in 2005 and premiered in the U.S. in the fall of 2006. He served for five years on the board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters. In 2010, Eric received the Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Ines Zeller Bass, Performer, Co-Founding Artistic Director of Sandglass

Ines Zeller Bass, Co-Founding Artistic Director of Sandglass, has been performing with puppets since 1968, when she became a member of the Munich marionette theater, Kleines Spiel. In 1978, she created her children’s hand puppet theater, PUNSCHI, which has toured Europe, Australia and the US. In 1982, Ines co-founded Sandglass Theater with husband Eric in Germany and moved the theater to Vermont in the mid-1980s. Ines started Sandglass theater’s program for family audiences. Together with Eric, she teaches their approach to puppetry performance and devised composition in workshops in Vermont and abroad. She recently designed the puppets and set for NATAN EL SABIO, a collaborative project with Teatro Luis Poma in El Salvador. Ines’ puppets and design for BABYLON, Sandglass Theater’s newest production, include two of her many crankies. Ines is currently touring in the Sandglass production of D-GENERATION, AN EXALTATION OF LARKS, a piece about people with dementia. She is a UNIMA citation winner and in 2010, received the Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Kirk Murphy, Sandglass Associate Artist

Kirk has been both puppeteer and administrator with Sandglass since 2006, when he joined Sandglass Theater’s collaboration with the Cambodian shadow puppet theater Sovannah Phum. He has also performed in Amanda Maddock’s Mrs. Wright’s Escape, Company of Strangers’ Styles Under Sky, and developed a small repertoire of short pieces. He is a certified facilitator of TimeSlips (a creative storytelling method designed to be used with people with dementia and their caregivers), and has been a part of the D-Generation project since its earliest stages.

Artist Bios

Coni Richards, Puppet Builder

Coni is a sculptor, puppet builder, and digital photographer living in Putney, Vermont. With the guidance of Eric and Ines, she crafted the faces and hands of Rose, Mary, Florence, Henry and Elwood. She also assisted with pattern drafting and construction of the bodies. Coni’s digital documentation of each character’s development has given Sandglass Theater imagery to be used in funding requests and publicity.

Sabrina Hamilton, Lighting Designer

Sabrina is the Artistic Director of the Ko Festival of Performance, where she also serves as resident designer. She has toured with Sandglass Theater throughout Vermont, and to Cedar Rapids, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and northern Quebec. She is currently serving her second term on the Board of Directors of the Network of Ensemble Theaters.

Paul Dedell, Composer

Paul has written several scores for Sandglass Theater, including Conference of the Birds and One Way Street. In addition, he has written several large choral works: Come Life, Shaker Life and Divine Chemistry premiered by the Brattleboro Concert Choir, as well as numerous musical theater scores, songs, anthems, and instrumental pieces. He is most often found at the Hilltop Montessori School in Brattleboro, Vermont, where he is the director of the adolescent program, teaches humanities, and enjoys writing and performing music with his students.

Michel Moyse, Filmmaker

Michel has worked as a freelance sound designer in feature films with such directors as Woody Allen, Brian DiPalma, Jonathan Demme, and George Roy Hill, and as a film editor for Cappy Productions, NYC. He was co-founder and Vice President of Domilin Films, Inc., a New York-based film acquisition and development company. Presently, Moyse is founder/co-director of the Center for Digital Art, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to providing resources for and promoting film-making, animation, and video art in southern Vermont.

The Residents of Pine Heights
We want to extend special thanks to all the brave individuals who chose to take part in the development of D-Generation: An Exaltation of Larks. The Residents of Pine Heights at Brattleboro and Holton Home are the inspiration for the development of this project, as well as the creators of the stories we use in the piece.


Best Direction
2013 Puppeteers of America Festival

2014 “Citation of Excellence” Award
The American Center of the Union International de la Marionnette (UNIMA-USA)

Thank you to our funders

The McKenzie Family Charitable Trust &
Donations from all those who generously contributed to our Kickstarter campaign