SPECTRA Teaching Artist
Available to Community
Since 1999 Ricki has continued to color outside the lines of what people expect when they think of puppets and puppeteers. Ricki has performed thousands of street shows, created the popular underground TV puppet show, Dante's Place (1999). Ricki’s work has been produced,/performed, and commissioned by such as a Bunraku puppetry performance of Steinbeck’s "The Pearl" funded by UC Fullerton's Grand Central Art Center and the John Steinbeck society (2002), The Death Show a puppet opera about life's final bow, funded in part by the City of Austin's Cultural Arts Dept. (2009), as well as his all Puppet Burlesque show A night at Miss Mimi's funded by a performance art grant from the Creative Capital Foundation. In 2007 Ricki with the help of grant funds and generous donations from supporters, formed the nonprofit theater troupe and Outreach Program Geppetto Dreams Puppet Company.
Throughout his career he has striven to pass his art on to the next generation, teaching workshops to both children and adults on puppet design construction and performance, creating an award-winning workshop on designing puppets from recyclable and found items, and developing summer internship programs for at-risk teens. In 2017, as a resident artist at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, he started the pilot program “The Puppetry Institute” and later found a more permanent home by partnering with the Santa Cruz Museum of Discovery, where he continues to pass on his knowledge to all who come through the doors.
DR. MECURIO'S MYTHICAL MARVELS ASSEMBLY
A 50 minute school assembly
First 25 minutes showcases life size puppets, Dragons and other mythical beasts come to life and perform on stage. In the second half of the show, we break character and explain how classes that we found boring when we were in school helped us to create these amazing creatures. Math, Science, Chemistry, Cultural Studies are just some the academic disciplines that go into the construction of our creatures. With this approach we convey the message that no matter what the subject, it’s only boring until you find out how you’re going to use it.
Available: mornings Wed-Fri
Room requirements: Theater or Cafeteria
TRASH TO TOYS PROGRAM
6-8 week residency
This workshop teaches the basic principal of how one person’s trash can be another person’s art in a way that not only engages them but entertains as well. By using basic design and construction techniques, student’s will take plastic and cardboard recyclables brought from home (i.e.: egg cartons, paper towel tubes, cereal boxes, rinsed soda/ dish soap, and ketchup bottles) and turn them into life-like functioning puppets. They also learn to look at ordinary objects and find the art hidden inside. The program culminates with performance for entire school to show off their creations. Students will be able to use a variety of different academic skills such as math and science in the construction of their puppets, and employ basic geometry and different art disciplines.
Available: Wed-Fri flexible
Room requirements: a multipurpose room with sink
Fee: $10.25 per student for up to 30 students
VAPA Standard addressed: Artistic: Design, Storytelling, improvisation Historic & Cultural: 1st form of art/theater
CREATURE SHOP PROGRAM
8-12 week residency
Students will create a larger than life school mascot/fantasy creature. This class works best with Theater/Art students but is also a great school spirit project. Students will use everyday items and recyclables to construct their creation. The main goal is to show them how to turn a two-dimensional concept drawing into a working three dimensional life size body puppet using only the materials provided, with team-building and out of the box thinking. I have 3 basic designs that they can chose from or if a mascot is needed we can use your design. This project will culminate with a class in movement and those who wish can operate the puppet in a short performance for the entire school. Students will learn basic techniques in design/construction, sewing/tailoring/pattern making, sculpture/painting, as well as employ academics like math, science and engineering.
Available: Wed-Fri flexible
Room requirements: ventilated multipurpose room, power strips, extension cords.
Cost: $22.50 per student for up to 25 students
VAPA Standards addressed: Design, construction, puppetry, and concept artistry.
Dr. Mecurio’s Mythical Marvels & Traveling Menagerie Virtual Creature Show!
1-hour Vimeo/YouTube video, Live 30 min talk and Q & A via Zoom/MSN Meeting
The Mecurio show is a 1 hour professionally produced video of our stage show that will include 12 life size mythical creatures, followed by a live zoom meeting with myself explaining how none of the puppets would be possible without math, science, engineering, and even storytelling. After that a Q & A where students can ask any questions they might have about any part of the show or lecture. The Puppet in Place workshop is the same one we put together for 500 students for PVUSD's Summer Program. The price is the same for 500 kits plus lessons and can be adjusted for lower numbers.
School Performance/Assembly Program Fees: $900 per school for 2 performances; Includes up to 4 virtual tours/lectures depending on audience size
Materials fee: $6 per kit (Puppet In Place: 7 videos, 1 kit, makes 9 puppets in six styles)
Requirements: YouTube video
Grade(s): 1st through 8th