My name is David Commander; I have written, directed and performed my particular style of modern toy theater which has been presented in NYC, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Portland, and Chicago. This year has seen the completion of my latest work Fear In The Western World, in which I collaborated with NYC’s Rob Ramirez (Cycle 74, Immediate Medium) to create a puppet performance about gun control (and the pushback against common sense) using cutting edge technology. As well as my work in puppetry and toy theater, I am a long time member of Big Art Group, a NYC theater company dedicated to building culturally transgressive and challenging new works through using the language of media and blended states of performance. In my time with the company, I have worked in various capacities: Performer, Assistant Director, Videographer and miniature set/prop builder.
My work is an attempt to give form to an unutterable force that spills past the boundaries of thought into a dark, confusing place without expression. The drive behind this compulsion usually deals with political concepts that question the foundation of our social structure and our complacency within it. I like to use technology, language and structure that can expand and contract to accommodate ideas that straddle the logical and the abstract. Since it is more adaptive to this environment, I often use elements of puppetry in my shows. I typically use pre-fabricated toys, such as action figures or dolls, to bring a quality to the characters that feels uncontrived and beyond my control. I tend to think that choosing the appropriate toy is a process of ‘casting’ and shouldn’t be tailor-made to my exact specifications. Relinquishing this control allows a world of surprising characteristics that is more organic and unintentional. I would like to think that I’m not fully in control of what I make. I hope to channel into images and situations the energy that is held in that most internal space; where the entirety of being is fused together.
Photo by Ned Stresen-Reuter.