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The Animated Blake

James Jay is creating a juggling show, “The Animated Blake,” which will premiere at the Seattle Fringe Festival in March, 1999. Blake’s work will be illuminated by a variety of physical arts: juggling, movement, staff spinning, incense burner swinging, puppetry, and book manipulation. The audience will be served a fortune cookie communion featuring the Proverbs of Hell. From Jay’s webpage:

William Blake was considered a Freak during his lifetime and a Genius after his death. “The Animated Blake” embraces both the freak and the genius, illuminating the artist’s visionary poetry with juggling and manipulation.

The show follows the “routine” format of a poetry reading or musical revue. It has no plot line, but is shaped by an aesthetic and conceptual progression. An opposition between Innocence and Experience gives way to subtle blends of good and evil through the “Marriage of Heaven and Hell.” To underscore this thematic arrangement of the texts, the host has a split personality (a la Dr. Jekyll[e] and Mr. Hyde) which merges into a single character during the marriage.

In addition to recitations, Blake’s poetry will be presented in musical accompaniment. The Proverbs of Hell will be dispensed in fortune cookies during a “communion” ceremony. Slide projections will bring Blake’s visual art into the show, and may convey his texts, as well.

This literary freakshow will be created and performed by James Jay, the inventor of the high-tech Juggling Jukebox. The director is Jenny Iacobucci.

For a complete description, see

Print Edition

  • Publisher
  • Department of English, University of Rochester
  • Rochester, NY, USA
    • Editors
    • Morris Eaves
    • Morton D. Paley
    • Managing Editor
    • Patricia Neill
    • Bibliographer
    • G.E. Bentley, Jr.
    • Review Editor
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    • Associate Editor for Great Britain
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    • Contributors
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    • Eugenie R. Freed
    • Alexander S. Gourlay
    • Terence Allan Hoagwood
    • J.B. Mertz
    • Jennifer Davis Michael

    Digital Edition

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