Eugene Drucker, Musician

Stephanie Mercedes, Visual Artist

 

Andrés San Millán
Theatre Artist

This story is about Cocoon Theatre and a group of artists in Poughkeepsie, New York.  The artists, like the rest of us near and far, have been living in uncertain times because of COVID-19, the pandemic that is a global oppressor.  Living for months under restrictions of physical distancing, wearing face masks, and compulsively washing hands, these artists are determined to carry on, despite the restrictions to do what they do best...make art.  There current efforts are for a parade scheduled for May 22, 2020.

Not knowing whether the parade would go on, we waited for a few days to hear from our friend and colleague, Joan Belmar who proposed this story for The Jüdische Kulturbund Project and its initiative, COVID-19: The Oppressor.   And then, we received a video Joan. When we hit the start button, all was revealed.

Joan had captured artists inside the Cocoon Theatre space expressing joy as they wore the costumes they prepared for the parade that was about to happen.

Wanting details to understand all that was captured in the video, we asked Andrew San Millan, the founder and creative director Cocoon Theatre to describe more about Cocoon Theatre and what was the significance of the parade.

In Andrés’s words:

My company name is Cocoon Theatre through whom I am able to provide artist friends with space, costumes etc. We are in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Photo credit: Barbara Todd Photography

On May 22 a group of 13 artists paraded the streets with large costumes and drums. The event's goal was several fold. One to give a boost of positive energy to the city of Poughkeepsie after the long lockdown. Secondly, to promote a poetry festival occurring the next day online, therefore the letters on our heads. And thirdly to comment on the awkwardness and humorous ways we find ourselves living in.

Photo credit: Barbara Todd Photography

We wanted to make a comment on the 6 feet apart rules. Also it was important to us to show that we are all together in this. So, together and apart all at once. The 6 feet stick held everyone at a distance while we moved together.

Covid was the cause and the effect of the work to an extent.

It was also a problem to deal with while preparing as it is for anyone. The usual difficulties. Masks, distance, cleanliness. But in general, the lock down has been a time of creative output. It has enable me personally to focus on works I had wanted to do for a longtime. It is also enabling the formation of a more cohesive group of artists. This is encouraging and I hope we will continue to work together in this vein.

Next for us is a dance performance at a local park we're trying to save from development. We have created a model of a circle bridge that we see as a symbol for unity and equality.

The dance performance will feature dancers carrying puppets on long sticks.

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These efforts are examples of the imaginative productions of Cocoon Theatre dedicated to bringing fine visual & performing arts classes, workshops & performances to all ages.  With an emphasis on exploring the creative process, they choose thought-provoking, relevant material, with a wish to foster the growth of the individual, and to share in the building of sound communities and a strong world society.