Born during World War II, then trained as an altar boy to respond in Latin, I was attracted to the theater a long time ago. After some twenty years working and teaching as a scenic designer, I left traditional theater, established a studio in Seattle and began making street theater — using puppets.
Puppetsoup Theater of Objects, [PSTOO] gave birth to its first shows on the street in 1982. Performing at street fairs and festivals has its drawbacks, however, and I began thinking of a show that I could do on a large tabletop followed by a soup supper! The Souptalks Trilogy is a miniature epic inspired by the START TALKS during the cold war.
The first play, Voice of the Turtledove premiered in my Seattle Studio in 1988 for 12-18 guests. Five years later, all three parts were presented by Seattle’s On the Boards and the Jim Henson International Festival of Puppet Theater, New York City. In 2001, the work was revised and presented as SoupTalks Seattle by the Center on Contemporary Art (CoCA).
Extensive use of video in the project eventually led to making the documentary Puppet Festival released on VHS in 2001 just as the world was switching to DVDs! Enough of that nonsense. Two recent movies are distributed online: “LetterHome” and Eight Songs for a Wheat Harvest.
Upon renovating, then moving to the former St. Michael Catholic Church of Snohomish — partner Karen Guzak’s big idea — my fascination with the history of our riverside town resulted in a book of historic images published by Arcadia Publishers in 2007, Early Snohomish. Beginning with the release of the book, I wrote a monthly column in the local newspaper and blog, Snohomish: Then and Now — now archived.
Currently a volunteer photo archivist with the Snohomish Historical Society, following my two-year service as its president in 2008/2010.
And most happy to report that my book, J. S. White: Our First Architect, written in collaboration with Seattle photographer Otto Greule, was released July 13, 2017!
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