is a 75 min contemporary shadow puppetry show created by Manual Cinema.
Told almost entirely sans dialogue, it is the story of a lonely adolescent girl who lives with her mother on the outskirts of a vast satellite array in the middle of the desert. After a chance encounter over the radio, Lula becomes obsessed with a soulful country music duo, the Baden Brothers. Inspired by their music, she runs away from home and into a world of danger, deception, and disappointment.
Set in the mid-century American Southwest and inspired by the music of Hank Williams, Roy Orbison, and Patsy Cline, Lula del Ray is a mythic reinvention of the classic coming-of-age story.
Lula del Ray was developed at the University of Chicago in the Theater and Performance Studies Program where Manual Cinema served as Ensemble-in-Residence in 2012.
The shows features a live performed score and live mixed 4 channel sound design.
“LULA DEL RAY asks us to accept the physical and emotional integrity of machine-art. We’re never less than totally aware of the artisanal craft at work, but somehow the show manages to make a singular case for a very different kind of (mass) cultural experience. It’s not just cinema by other means; it’s a redemption of light itself.”
- KYLE WESTPHAL, Cine-file Chicago
“…Manual Cinema’s combination of roughness and delicacy, simplicity and sophistication makes for an oddly compelling 90 minutes. The score, by various hands, is as evocative as they come.”
- TONY ADLER, Chicago Reader
Created by Manual Cinema
Conceived by Julia Miller
Based on original text by Brendan Hill
Designed and Directed by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, and Julia Miller
Original Sound Design by Kyle Vegter with Ben Kauffman
Original Score by Kyle Vegter and Ben Kauffman with Maren Celest, Michael Hilger, and Jacob Winchester
Puppeteers Lizi Breit, Sarah Fornace (Lula del Ray), Evan Garrett, and Julia Miller (Lula’s Mother)
Music Performed by Maren Celest (Sounds, Vocals), Michael Hilger (Guitar, Vocals), Kyle Vegter (Cello, Vocals), and Jacob Winchester (Guitar, Bass, Percussion)
Poster Design by Simone Martin-Newberry