This video documents a shadow puppet “crank box” show that I made in 2009 called “Peggy’s Story”. The shadow puppet show is based on an interview by Studs Terkel from Hard Times (rebroadcasted on This American Life), in which one woman, Peggy, tells of her life experience growing up during the Great Depression and the Alabama Bus Boycott. The show is 13 minutes long.
Unlike a conventional shadow puppet show, the images are all attached on one long scroll, cranked through a box with a light behind it. While the recording of the interview plays, I turn the scroll and occasionally use conventional shadow puppets to animate certain scenes. Often I have a live musician play the guitar or banjo as accompaniment.
I resisted uploading this to the internet for a long time, feeling strongly that the true magic of this puppet show is not maintained in video format, but in its live performance. However, due to the fragility of the scroll and the importance of her message, I have decided to make it available for a larger audience. Enjoy!