Puppet lover Lara opens up about stranger things

By Zoe Walker

An unusual childhood toy is among Lara Fischel-Chisholm's favourite things.

Actress Lara Fischel-Chisholm with her puppet Bong Ga Ga. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Actress Lara Fischel-Chisholm with her puppet Bong Ga Ga. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Lara Fischel-Chisholm will be one of two actors appearing in the play Providence, "an investigation of the states of homelessness" showing as part of the New Performance Festival that kicks off this weekend. The multi-talented performer works as an actor, dancer and producer, and started a collaborative performance series called Stranger Things with her brother in 2009. From puppets to a love of stripes, Fischel-Chisholm tells us about some of her favourite things.

10 FAVOURITE THINGS

1. Puppets

I have a creepy wizard puppet called Bong Ga Ga that my parents bought years and years ago. He used to have a caterpillar friend called Sea Grub who has actually perished over the years.

2. Gasp

A local artist. We just bought a massive painting from his Last Gasp exhibition. I worked with Gasp for my Art in the Dark installation last year - he's a pretty talented cat. I've actually just put in an order for a new screen print that he has just made.

3. Bunting

Our friends Todd and Kip made us some bunting for Christmas. It's gone up in our bedroom with the boats and ballerinas ... and also in the kitchen.

4. Estelle Deve jewellery

So so pretty. And she has made mood rings for adults. I don't own one yet but I would like to.

5. Vintage undies

My favourite piece was given to me by the lady who owns the ballet shop on Dominion Rd. She used to be a dancer in England before WWII - when the war put an end to her career as a ballerina, she moved to Timaru. I haven't been in for a while but she used to have some really good stories.

6. Stripes

I love them. I had a conversation with another stripe-loving friend last week - she has a shelf of new stripy tops because in the face of a wardrobe crisis there really is nothing better than putting on a new and perfect stripy.

7. China

The Beswick palm tree series is one of my favourite collections. I collect tea cups and any other interesting miscellaneous bits I can get my hands on. My latest edition is a Temuka log vase that a dear friend found in a gallery in Oamaru and very generously gifted to me.

8. Future Hotel

The brainchild of Stephen Bain and Nisha Madhan. They make inspired, crazy, wonderful street theatre. It would be good to see many more of their crazy ideas realised. Stephen is behind the New Performance Festival. Gosh he has a good brain ... can that be one of my favourite things? Stephen Bain's brain?

9. Whippets

They're like mini greyhounds! Sometimes I look for pictures of them on the internet and send them to my boyfriend to inspire him. When I'm finally allowed to get one I'm going to call it Ben Kingsley. Someone once told me that greyhounds are the poor man's race horse ... I guess whippets might be the poor man's greyhound? That's totally fine with me.

10. Bicycles

I own three - a pink road bike, a pink fixed gear and an old Raleigh that belonged to my Nana. The guys at T-Whites Bikes on Symonds St are the best and they have the Second Hand Bike Store downstairs.

* Providence at the New Performance Festival, February 24 - 25, Aotea Centre, City. Tickets $25 from The-Edge.co.nz or ph (09) 357 3355.

- NZ Herald

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