Mary Amato and Andrea Caspari are the founders of Firefly Shadow Theater. In 2000, we teamed up to perform our first shadow play in Silver Spring, Maryland. The show was a hit, and we were enthralled. We gave ourselves a name and worked hard to develop a repertoire of performances for children and adults and a program of workshops for children.
We experimented with lighting, music, and scene-making and pushed ourselves to create intriguing and sophisticated puppets. We applied for and received grants, gained fans, and researched the fascinating history of shadow puppets at the Library of Congress. We persuaded our husbands Ivan Amato and Bob Hersh to contribute their talents for our shows for adults as writers, musicians, voices and scene-changers, and engaged our children Max and Simon, Joey and Jenny as audiences and critics. Jenny became actively involved as a maker of original puppets and scenes with a flair for animating puppets. We came a long way in a short time with no formal training in puppetry, no rehearsal space, no storage space, and no background in small business operations. We had three things that helped us: creativity, friendship and humor.