Sunday, January 4, 2015

WIN 4 Tickets (up to $152 value) To The Selfish Giant & Full Schedule For Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival JANUARY 14-25, 2015 #ChiPuppetFest #CompleteSchedule


                
THE CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL PUPPET THEATER FESTIVAL
JANUARY 14-25, 2015 
CHICAGOPUPPETFEST.ORG  #ChiPuppetFest



Here at ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows, we're super stoked about the inaugural Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival! The city's hoping to make it a bi-annual event, and there's magic in beginnings. They're kickin it off in style January 14-25, 2015, with a line-up of top contemporary puppets acts and artists from around the world, the U.S. and Chicago at venues large and small all over the city. Book your tickets in advance to guarantee seats!

Then ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama & ChiIL Live Shows for the latest arts news, photo & video filled reviews, and giveaways in Chi, IL and beyond. Check back with us like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often.

WIN 4 Tickets (up to $152 value) To The Selfish Giant

   *CCT family 4-pack giveaway 
for opening night Fri, 1/23, 6:30pm* 


Chicago Children's Theatre presents
Blair Thomas & Co.'s production of The Selfish Giant
Chicago Children's Theatre at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts,
1016 N. Dearborn St.

Five festival performances: Friday, January 23-Sunday, January 25 
Friday, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Approximately 50 minutes
$28 children; $38 adults; $5 off with promo code PUPPET
(production runs through February 22) 
All ages

The Selfish Giant, a musical spectacle created for Chicago Children's Theatre by two Chicago theater icons - Blair Thomas and Michael Smith - is based on Oscar Wilde's classic story about a grumpy giant who forbids children from playing in his garden. After the children are locked out, the trees and flowers refuse to grow and the garden plunges into an eternal winter. Then one morning, the children sneak back into the garden, bringing with them the joyous rebirth of spring.

Featuring original puppets and music, The Selfish Giant is enormously imaginative, gigantically whimsical, and is sure to thrill children and giants of all ages. The production is one of the festival's closing weekend presentations, but kicks off Chicago Children's Theatre's full run of the The Selfish Giant through February 22. 

Blair Thomas & Co. (BlairThomas.org) is a national and international touring puppet theater company founded in 2002 by puppeteer and director/designer Blair Thomas.



Founded to establish Chicago as a center for the advancement of the art of puppetry, the 12-day, city-wide festival will showcase an entertaining and eclectic array of puppet styles from around the world for residents and visitors to experience together. 

More than 50 different performances are slated, showcasing more than 50 artists and a dozen puppet theater acts from around the globe, presented by more than a dozen top Chicago cultural institutions in partnership with the festival.


Visit ChicagoPuppetFest.org for information and to book tickets. The official festival hashtag is #ChiPuppetFest. Fan the festival on Facebook and follow the festival on Twitter at @ChiPuppetFest:
 


COMPLETE SCHEDULE 
**Following is the latest information about each presentation - in chronological order by starting date and time - including dates, venues, show times, ticket prices and estimated run time.**                            

Click here to download a handy festival map and calendar in pdf format.




Free Street Theatre presents
Stephanie Diaz and Company's Mariposa Nocturna: A Puppet Triptych

at Free Street Theatre, Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, 1419 W. Blackhawk St., 3rd Floor
Two performances: Wednesday and Thursday, January 14 and 15 at 6 p.m.
40 minutes
$5-$20

A child's wish to a Guatemalan folk saint for her dying grandmother to have a "happy sleep" results in a bawdy, Japanese shadow-dream. Two bird-headed spinsters suddenly find themselves custodians of a large, glowing egg. A lonely toy carriage embarks upon a jaunty odyssey in search of buried dreams. Employing handcrafted tabletop and shadow puppets, original music, and stop-motion film, and showcasing precise, artful manipulation, Mariposa Nocturna explores loss, longing and rebirth in this gently humorous, darkly beautiful and emotionally resonant new work. 

The production includes a beautiful, immersive folk-art-inspired community altar and live installation. Audiences are encouraged to bring a token or memento of a loved one to contribute to the show's folk-art inspired community altar.

Mariposa Nocturna: A Puppet Triptych was conceived and created by Stephanie Díaz, and features original music by Barry Bennett and film by Jessica Mondres.



Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents
Blind Summit's The Table

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave.
13 performances: Wednesday, January 14-Sunday, January 25
Tuesday-Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m.
$20-$35
70 minutes

Here at ChiIL Live Shows/ChiIL Mama we caught The Table last year and highly recommend it! Moses, the charismatic cardboard character has heart, soul and depth. The Table is a must see.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents the return engagement Blind Summit's The Table, the widely acclaimed production that played to sold-out houses last fall.

Come meet Moses, a cantankerous puppet with a cardboard head immersed in an existential crisis on a table. Intended to be a theatrical interpretation of the biblical story of Moses, The Table is performed by a grizzled, crotchety old man but the grumpy puppet narrator strays far from the planned storyline.

Blind Summit (blindsummit.com), London-based theatrical innovators who have created puppetry for Anthony Minghella, Complicité and Danny Boyle's Olympic Opening Ceremony, presents epic puppetry drawing on the Japanese Bunraku style. Hilarious, beautiful and occasionally profound, it is performed completely on the table top with multiple, visible puppeteers who improvise and interact with each other and the audience. Blind Summit's remarkable artists breathe poignant life into the character, revealing something of ourselves in the cardboard, wood and fabric creation onstage.

As part of the development of a new work, Blind Summit will also showcase a work in progress exclusively for Chicago audiences on Fridays and Saturdays at 9:15 p.m. during the festival.
 




MCA Stage presents
Manual Cinema's Mementos Mori
Museum of Contemporary Art, Edlis Neelsin Theater, 220 E. Chicago Ave.
Four performances:  Thursday, January 15-Sunday, January 18
Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m.
$28; $22 MCA Members; $10 students
80 minutes



Chicago's own Manual Cinema is one of our favorites here at ChiIL Live Shows/ChiIL Mama. We totally dug Luna del Rey, and the hairy short they performed with Barrel of Monkeys, That's Weird Chicago.

This endlessly inventive group of Chicago artists, uses disarmingly simple tools - live music, paper puppets, overhead projectors - to tell transformative stories. Their enchanting works unsettle the boundaries between cinema and theater.

With Mementos Mori, their new feature-length performance of cinematic shadow puppetry, Manual Cinema offers a beguiling meditation on how digital culture is changing our relationship to death and dying. Mementos Mori weaves together three interrelated stories about death and technology. After she steals a pocket watch from her grandmother's mysterious visitor, five-year-old Melba sees visions of dying birds. A washed-up TV host with heart problems, Mel finds unexpected romance in the arms of a bewitching stranger. And bike messenger, Marie, finds herself playing a life-or-death chess match with a dangerous opponent.

Shadow puppets interact with live actors in silhouette, while a chamber ensemble and video complete the immersive multimedia experience, imbuing the experience of attending a movie with a live theatrical immediacy.

Mementos Mori was commissioned by MCA Stage. Manual Cinema (manualcinema.com) was provided an eight-day production residency at the MCA culminating with a Work-In-Progress showing this past August.


 


Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions present
Nick Steur in Freeze!
Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave.
Wednesday, January 14-Sunday, January 25
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, January 14-16 at 6 p.m.; Saturday, January 17 at 1:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, January 18 at 1:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, January 20-22 at 6:30 p.m.; Friday, January 23 at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Saturday, January 24 at 1:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, January 25 at 1:30 p.m.
$10-$15
30 minutes

Creator and performer Nick Steur (NickSteur.com) welcomes audiences as he artfully balances stones without glue or other manipulations.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents the U.S. premiere of this one-of-a-kind live performance event from The Netherlands. Winner of the Edinburgh Fringe First award in 2013, Freeze! blurs the line between performer and audience as all collectively experience the unexplainable harmony that comes from balance and focus. 

The Scotsman declared, "occasionally a show appears that has a poise, an authority, an inner strength so profound that it takes a rushing, hyperactive audience and moves it into a completely different place...slowing its heartbeats, making it pause, changing the way it breathes and sees. Nick Steur's remarkable performance is one of those rare and beautiful shows."
 

 

The Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) at Columbia College Chicago presents
Sandglass Theater's D-Generation: An Exaltation of Larks
The Dance Center of Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan Ave.
Two performances: Friday and Saturday, January 16 and 17, 7 p.m.
1 hour 10 minutes
$20

A piece about play, joy, and communication. A piece about dementia. From playful story circles to dark private terror, from lyrical inner visions to demanding confrontations, from the reflections of caregivers to the fragmented memories of residents of care facilities, D-Generation evokes a complex world of people living with dementia.

D-Generation: An Exaltation of Larks is a full-length theater piece based on stories written collaboratively by groups of people with late-stage dementia. The work is performed by three puppeteers (the caregivers) and five puppets (the residents of a care-facility). Set to a compelling original score and striking animated video segments, D-Generation takes us into a world that is all too much a part of our lives.

The collected stories were gathered by performers at Vermont's Sandglass Theater (sandglasstheater.org) during 20 visits to care facilities, during which circles of people with dementia were guided through a collective story-making method called Timeslips. These stories reveal a humor, and playfulness, as well as the dark reality of the disease. They stand on their own as dramatic material from a remarkable source.





The Field Museum presents
Dozin' with the Dinos
The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Friday, January 16, 5:30 p.m. to Saturday, January 17, 9 a.m.
$55-$88; Pre-registration required. No tickets sold at the door.
For families with children 6 to 12. Adult-only parties are not permitted. 
All ages

Spend the night at The Field Museum - Sue the T. rex is having a special, puppetry-filled sleepover! Bring the family for puppet shows, activities and self-guided tours, then spread your sleeping bag amidst some of the most popular exhibitions. Enjoy a night of puppetry and fun you'll never forget at Chicago's Field Museum (fieldmuseum.org), one of the largest natural history museums in the world.  




The Field Museum presents
Open Mic Puppets
Hosted by Jabberwocky Marionettes
The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Saturday, January 17, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
General Admission tickets ($13-$18) includes Open Mic Puppets program
All ages

Chicago's Jabberwocky Marionettes hosts a startling array of area puppeteers-young and old, professional and amateur, solo and ensemble-who perform family-focused puppet shows throughout the day on one of two stages at The Field Museum. 

Puppeteers will include Adventure Sandwich, Clothespin Puppets, Sea Beast Puppet Company, Puppetfolk Productions!, Matteson Public Library Puppet Pals and Mother Goose and her Ventriloquist Puppets. Join the Jabberwocky Marionettes at the end of the day as they lead visitors on a spectacular puppet-filled parade throughout the museum! Check fieldmuseum.org for information.




The Field Museum presents
Chinese Theater Works' Rich in Tradition - Chinese Shadow Puppets
The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
One performance: Saturday, January 17, 3 p.m.
50 minutes
Free with General Admission ticket ($13-$18) 
All Ages

Street theaters and festivals in China featuring shadow puppets can be traced back for hundreds of years. The stories within these traditional performances are. Don't miss a unique opportunity to see this beautiful tradition come to life in a shadow puppetry performance by renowned New York-based Chinese Theatre Works (CTW). Featured works will take inspiration from The Field Museum's own shadow puppet collection and will include famous stories like Monkey King and Journey to the West, which is still performed today.

Chinese Theatre Works (ChineseTheatreWorks.org) was created in 2001 out of the merger of two non-profit institutions with long histories of bringing traditional and innovative, contemporary Chinese performing arts to local New York City, national and international audiences - The Gold Mountain Institute for Traditional Shadow Theater (GMI) and Chinese Theatre Workshop.

CTW has won the highest honor in U.S. puppetry, a Citation of Excellence from UNIMA-USA, for their show Toy Theater Peony Pavilion. The company has also been featured at many festivals and conferences around the world, including Puppet Power in Calgary, Canada; the DALA Festival (Seoul, South Korea); Taipei Children's Theater Association's Festival (Taiwan); and The Shanghai First International Puppet Festival.

 

 
The Art Institute of Chicago presents
Family Festival: Puppets!
Art Institute of Chicago, Ryan Education Center, Modern Wing entrance,
159 E. Monroe St.

Saturday, January 17, 10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
See performances of Bullooney Puppetworks' Rikki Tikki Tavi at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Interactive family gallery tours at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.*
Free
All Ages


Explore the world of puppets at a drop-in festival for all ages.Visit Puppets!, an interactive installation in the Ryan Education Center where you can create a story and act it out with hand-made puppets inspired by artwork in the museum's collection and the special exhibit Temptation: The Demons of James Ensor. Create your own puppets in a workshop and perform a show for your family and friends. Enjoy the museum on an interactive gallery tour at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.

Don't miss Bullooney Puppetworks' adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's classic short story Rikki Tikki Tavi, told using hand puppets, rod puppets and masks within a lush landscape of leaves, trees and original music. Performances are at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., but space is limited. Free tickets will be distributed in the Ryan Education Center an hour prior to each performance.

Note:  In addition to Saturday's Family Festival, Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival-goers are encouraged to stop by the Puppets! exhibition anytime during the festival. Puppets! debuts in the Art Institute of Chicago's Ryan Education Center on December 6, and is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Thursday nights until 8 p.m.) Admission is free.

*Proof of museum admission or an Art Institute member card is required for adults and children age 14 and over.

 

Chicago Humanities Festival and Adventure Stage Chicago co-present
Laurent Bigot in Le Petit Cirque (The Little Circus)
Adventure Stage Chicago, Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble St.
Four performances: Saturday and Sunday, January 17 and 18, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
45 minutes
$20


Within a circus-like, table-top installation, electroacoustic musician Laurent Bigot sets various objects in motion. A "circus of sound" and a theater of objects, Le Petit Cirque is made from odds and ends, salvaged material and cheap gadgets. Action nourishes sound, and sound gives new meaning to action, via improvisation and the chance of mechanics. 

The piece explores two distinct and interacting concepts. The first is how stereotypical circus imagery alters one's perception of the performance's musical aspect. The second, and more abstract, is how sound allows the spectator to see these theatrical situations from a different perspective. The spectator skips from one point of view to another, engaging ears, eyes, skin, imagination, and thought associations.

A composer, sound artist, and musician based in Grenoble, France, Laurent Bigot develops his ideas through his own explorations or through collaboration with musicians, dancers, filmmakers, writers, actors, and visual artists. As a saxophonist, he plays with Musicabrass, an open-air orchestra that engages with the environment. As an electroacoustician and a tinkerer, he composes in the studio and plays on stage, using various analog devices, with a fondness for live sound creation. Visit oisiveraie.com/petit_cirque/cirque/cirque_spectacle_eng.htm

Supported in part by the Cultural Service at the Consulate General of France in Chicago.
                                                               


Links Hall presents
Nasty, Brutish & Short Presents...
Curated by Links Hall Artistic Associates Taylor Bibat and Mike Oleon
Links Hall, 3111 N. Western Ave.
Seven performances: Saturday, January 17-Saturday, January 24
Run times vary
$8-$15; $30 NASTYPASS

Links Hall presents eight days of short and medium works of puppetry highlighting Chicago's rich experimental puppet scene. 

Titled Nasty, Brutish & Short Presents... is a buffet of the dark and twisty, humorous, tender and everything in between. Ranging from a ludicrous and sublime toy theater adaptation of Beowulf with 100 + Vikings to  trick marionettes and their circus act encompassing tight rope walking and roller skating. 

The series culminates Saturday, January 24 with the Late Night International Puppet Slam featuring riskier short-form work from the festival's visiting artists from around the world and a closing party at Constellation Bar.

This fest within the fest expands on Nasty, Brutish & Short (NBS), the wildly popular quarterly cabaret of contemporary puppetry, supporting new works by some of Chicago's most innovative puppeteers since 2011 at Links Hall. 

Jammed packed with local puppet heroes and brilliant newcomers (*recommended for adults only): 


Saturday, January 17, 1 p.m.  
Snorf! by Noah Ginex Puppet Company
All ages 

Snorf! (The Saturday Afternoon Monster and Piggie/Comedy Variety Show) is an all-ages monthly variety show. Featuring puppets from the Jeff Award nominated Noah Ginex Puppet Company (noahginex.com), Snorf! has sketches, improvised scenes, songs and a special guest TBA.

 

Sunday, January 18, 1 p.m.  
Stars on Strings by Dave Herzog's Marionettes/The Dunworth Puppets 
All ages 


This features beautifully hand crafted trick marionettes, including marionettes that roller skate, perform on the tight rope and trapeze, transform, juggle, and much more in the traditional cabaret style with the puppeteers in full view of the audience.

Dave Herzog (herzogmarionettes.com) has been a puppet artist for more than 40 years and is Great Lakes Regional Director of the Puppeteers of America. Marc Dunworth grew up with a father as a magician, created his own degree in puppetry at Columbia College Chicago, has worked in Chicago and abroad, and formed The Dunworth Puppets (dunworthpuppets.com) in 2014.



Sunday, January 18, 7:30 p.m.  
Nasty, Brutish & Short: A Puppet Cabaret*
featuring VonOrthal Puppets, Sea Beast Puppet Company, Jessica Simon and Hearts and Brains

Using hand, rod and Bunraku puppets, shadow play and music, A White Heron is VonOrthal Puppets' (vonorthalpuppets.com) interpretation of the classic short story by Sarah Orne Jewett exploring the relationship between society and nature through the experience of a little country girl, Sylvia.

Sea Beast Puppet Company (seabeastpuppetry.com) presents Best Day Ever. It's a beautiful day when Tom leaves the dock for a relaxing day of sailing. Hopefully it stays that way in this shadow puppet comedy. In Mermaids, Sam Clam's Oyster bar is proud to present the one...the only...the incomparable...Miss Sandy Bottoms. And in Another Man's Treasure, technology and life meet face to face in this table top short about making do with what you have and finding what you need.

Jessica Simon presents Ruby and Charlie, a work-in-progress presentation of a glimpse into the lives of two people falling in and out of love, inspired by the music of Ray Charles.

Hearts and Brains presents Beowulf vs. Grendel (A 25-minute toy theater cavalcade of wonder), a mead-soaked, toy theater exploration of the classic epic poem Beowulf.  With a cast of three humans and over a hundred Vikings, Hearts and Brains, also known as Lacy Katherine Campbell, takes on what it means to be a hero or a monster in a show that is visually as sublime as it is ludicrous. Highly optional sing-along included.


Monday, January 19, 7:30 p.m
Nasty, Brutish & Short: A Puppet Cabaret*
featuring VonOrthal Puppets, Sea Beast Puppet Company, Jessica Simon and Hearts and Brains
See previous description



Tuesday, January 20, 7:30 p.m.  
Drunken Half-Angel by Michael Montenegro

A presentation accompanied by live music of several new puppet theatre pieces by Evanston puppet artist and collaborator Michael Montenegro, founder of Theatre Zarko: Puppet Symbolist Theatre (theatrezarko.com).


 
   
Wednesday, January 21, 7:30 p.m.  
Nasty, Brutish & Short: A Puppet Cabaret*
featuring Joe Mazza, Rough House, Vanessa Valliere and Meredith Miller

Joe Mazza (joemazza.org) presents The Hubrist, a grandiloquent farce of tiny proportion, and a continuation of the earlier epic picaresque, The Hyperbolist.

Rough House Theater ( roughhousetheater.com) presents And Dream of Teeth, employing the highest technologies available to them - namely glue, paper, flashlights and fabric - to dive into the psyche of the Dreamer.

Chicago performer, deviser, clown and Mucca Pazza nerd-cheerleader Vanessa Valliere presents Nice Try, about a sweet song, a high wire circus snail, and maybe a tiny bit of murder, and Your Best Self, the story of a woman who attends a leadership conference where she surprises herself by dreaming all of her biggest dreams. Love, food, and...sex?

Chicago-based performance artist and cabaret singer Meredith Miller (meredithjmiller.com) presents Cabaret Interludes,employing her unique fusion of costumes and puppetry to tell three short tales of love, seduction, and heartbreak.



Thursday, January 22, 7:30 p.m.
Nasty, Brutish & Short: A Puppet Cabaret* 
featuring Joe Mazza, Rough House, Vanessa Valliere and Meredith Miller
See previous description


Friday, January 23, 7:30 p.m.  
Drunken Half-Angel by Michael Montenegro
See previous description
 



Saturday, January 24, 1 p.m.   
The Joshua Show 
All ages

When Mr. Nicholas, the sock puppet, makes an unnerving self-discovery that causes him to spiral down a path of loneliness and despair, his soul mate Joshua teaches him to celebrate his differences in this show full of songs, comedy, whimsy, abundant joy, and just a smattering of tap dancing. 

Don't miss this chance to see the show awarded "Best Performance" and "Audience Favorite" at the 2013 Puppeteers of America's National Festival. Described by the Boston Globe as "a modern day Mr. Rogers with hipster appeal," Joshua Holden (TheAmbassadorOfJoy.com) is an award winning puppeteer actor and joy-maker based in NYC, recently seen on the Broadway national tour of Avenue Q.


Saturday, January 24, 10:30 p.m.  
Late Night International Puppet Slam*

The Late Night International Puppet Slam is an opportunity for puppeteers presenting at other Festival venues to try out riskier, short-form work for an audience who may or may not be drinking beer. The Late Night Slam will be followed by a closing party at Constellation Bar.


 

The Neo-Futurists present
Modern Toy Theatre of David Commander
at The Neo-Futurists, 5153 N Ashland Ave.
Three performances: Thursday, January 22-Saturday, January 24, 7:30 p.m.
60 minutes
$10

The Neo-Futurists present Modern Toy Theatre of David Commander. The first piece by this New York-based artist is named In Flight, which mocks the market of mis-focusing information and our potential for mass apathy, and questions what it is as a species that allows us to look the other way. The story begins on an airplane that is crashing. We join the passengers of the doomed vessel as the crew saturates them with fast-paced, numbing entertainment and advertising in an attempt to distract them from their imminent doom. We watch the crew use commercials for Sky Mall products, and a talk show that is a demonic blend of 'Oprah' and 'Ellen' to cull the passengers into being distracted from their fate in flames that is only moments away.

Next, Commander moves to the miniature sets of Sacrament Burger, which focuses on our disconnection from the function and value of food and how that detachment contributes to the waste of nearly half of all food produced globally. It also explores the inherent need to ritualize the act of eating and how this ceremony is performed within restaurant culture.

For the last 14 years David Commander (davidcommander.org) has been a member of Big Art Group, a NYC theater company dedicated to building culturally transgressive and challenging new works through using the language of media and blended states of performance. In addition, David has written, directed and performed in his own works: PIGGY 1.5 (2006 NYC International Fringe Festival), Machine World Gospel (2007 Philadelphia Fringe Festival), and since 2011 he has developed and performed several modern toy theater works in New York, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and The TBA Festival in Portland, Oregon.
  

 

MCA Stage presents
Stan's Cafe's The Cardinals
Museum of Contemporary Art, Edlis Neelson Theater, 220 E. Chicago Ave.
Three performances: Thursday, January 22-Saturday, January 24, 7:30 p.m.
$28; $22 museum members; $10 students


In this thought-provoking, witty, and hugely entertaining show, three Cardinals in crimson robes are on an evangelical mission. They're touring a puppet show to broaden knowledge of the Bible, undeterred by the loss of their puppets they take to the miniature stage themselves amid the two dimensional scenery and act their roles with touching deadpan sincerity. Conflicts ebb and flow as a young female Muslim stage manager supports their efforts and the show races through scenes from the Cardinals' take on major Bible stories from creation to the crucifixion and on to the crusades before arriving in the present-day Middle East.

From the British company Stan's Cafe, The Cardinals draws humor from its engaging performances and ingenious staging, which expose frenetic backstage efforts to create beautiful onstage action. Almost wordless, with witty and ingenious practical effects, which allow miracles to be performed on stage, the show looks at how religion can frame our worldview. Though playful, almost childlike throughout, The Cardinals is underpinned with a steely rigor that is exposed in the show's final shocking 'Revelation'.

While theater often asks its audiences to suspend their disbelief, the cardinals ask them simply to believe. "Our show does not seek to take sides in any religious debate. Instead we hope to prompt people to consider afresh their relationship to religious faith," say the artists from Stan's Cafe (stanscafe.co.uk).


  

Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, as part of its OnEdge performance series, presents
Daniel Barrow in The Thief of Mirrors
Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph St.
Two performances: Thursday and Friday, January 22 and 23, 7:30 p.m.
1 hour
Free, no reservations required

Since the early 90s, Daniel Barrow has developed a unique style of "manual" animation, layering and manipulating his intricate drawings on overhead projectors. 

With The Thief of Mirrors, Barrow returns to Chicago with a world premiere, the story of a jewel thief who wears the mask of a sad clown. His deep, emotive eyes charge the mask with supernatural powers-so captivating is his expression that his gaze can permanently inscribe his visage in the glass. The Thief of Mirrors pays homage to the classic archetype of the "Kissing Bandit"- the cat burglar who creeps into women's homes, collects their jewelry, and kisses them in their sleep, leaving them both violated and charmed. Exploring forgotten sexual mores and kitschy characters, Barrow walks the razor edge of irony, challenging systems of class and control in our culture.

Winnipeg-born, Montreal-based artist Daniel Barrow (DanielBarrow.com) has exhibited widely in Canada and abroad. He has performed at The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), PS1 Contemporary Art Center (New York), The Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), The International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's TBA festival, and the British Film Institute's London Film Festival. Barrow is the winner of the 2010 Sobey Art Award - Canada's largest prize for young Canadian artists - and the 2013 Glenfiddich Artist-In-Residence Prize.
 


WIN 4 Tickets (up to $152 value) To The Selfish Giant
ENTER HERE
if you haven't already

   *CCT family 4-pack giveaway 
for opening night Fri, 1/23, 6:30 pm* 



Chicago Children's Theatre presents
Blair Thomas & Co.'s production of The Selfish Giant
Chicago Children's Theatre at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts,
1016 N. Dearborn St.

Five festival performances: Friday, January 23-Sunday, January 25
Friday, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Approximately 50 minutes
$28 children; $38 adults; $5 off with promo code PUPPET
(production runs through February 22) 
All ages

The Selfish Giant, a musical spectacle created for Chicago Children's Theatre by two Chicago theater icons - Blair Thomas and Michael Smith - is based on Oscar Wilde's classic story about a grumpy giant who forbids children from playing in his garden. After the children are locked out, the trees and flowers refuse to grow and the garden plunges into an eternal winter. Then one morning, the children sneak back into the garden, bringing with them the joyous rebirth of spring.

Featuring original puppets and music, The Selfish Giant is enormously imaginative, gigantically whimsical, and is sure to thrill children and giants of all ages. The production is one of the festival's closing weekend presentations, but kicks off Chicago Children's Theatre's full run of the The Selfish Giant through February 22. 

Blair Thomas & Co. (BlairThomas.org) is a national and international touring puppet theater company founded in 2002 by puppeteer and director/designer Blair Thomas.


 

The University of Chicago's Theater and Performance Studies program presents
In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre's Mortal City
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. - Theater West
Two performances: Friday, January 23 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, January 24 at 9 p.m.
$15 general public; $5 students

Inspired by singer-songwriter Dar William's song of the same title, Mortal City uses music and visual imagery to puppeteer a poem of a city. Set during an ice storm at night, Mortal City explores creating and finding the warm pulse of the city in its layered soundscape, fragile infrastructure, simple light, and periwinkle winter skies. 

In the Heart of the Beast Theatre (hobt.org), based in Minneapolis, has been at the vanguard of theater melding performance with the rich history of puppetry from its shamanistic roots and lively street theater traditions to the imaginative performance language found in experimental theater. Rooted in an aspect of ceremony and celebration, whether it be narrative, episodic, or the award winning annual MayDay Parade and Festival, HOBT invites audiences to a theater of wonder that gives voice to under-represented communities and perspectives and draws together diverse communities to address local and global issues and celebrate our shared humanity. 


 

The University of Chicago's Theater and Performance Studies program presents In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre's Cartooon
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. - Theater East
Two performances: Friday, January 23 at 9 p.m.; Saturday, January 24 at 7 p.m.
$15 general public; $5 students

A live-action, 3D cartoon performed by a cast of 15, Cartooon introduces audiences to the fictional animated program Tummy da Talking Turtle Sucks on Piano Keys, created by Earl Dives and Gerry 'Crackjaw' Sanders while sharpening their lumberjack axes in the fall of 1940. 

Knowing nothing about animation, children, or public decency, the two cobbled together obscure Bible passages about dynamite and ran them over a flip book of crude drawings of Gerry's penis talking that they then put teeth on to resemble a crocodile. One episode of the show was created. It was a failure. This is that episode.


 

The University of Chicago's Theater and Performance Studies program presents FlipFlap Productions' The Temp
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. - Performance Lab (501)
Two performances: Friday, January 23-Saturday, January 24, 7:30 pm
60 minutes
$15 general public; $5 students

Presented by The University of Chicago's Theater and Performance Studies program, The Temp is a darkly comic tale exploring the life of an over-age temp who wants to be anything else. Told with music, puppets, and video, The Temp confronts demons, strangers, and the eternal search for the bathroom. This piece was developed in part through a residency with the Chicago Performance Lab.

FlipFlap Productions (Thetempthetempthetemp.tumblr.com) is home to a collective of comedy writers and musicians who create story-driven theater focused on original expression of modern stories. Founded in 2013 with a goal of stretching the boundaries of what makes a comedy show, FlipFlap explores people and places that aren't normally seen on stage in a weirdly natural, weirdly believable, weirdly weird way.
 

 

The University of Chicago's Theater and Performance Studies program and the Logan Center for the Arts present Logan Center Family Saturday Festival: Puppets!
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St.
Saturday, January 24, Noon to 5 p.m.
$5; $20 for families of 5 or more
All ages   

The Logan Center's monthly family series will draw inspiration from the world's puppet and mask traditions with a family-friendly performance of Heart of the Beast's Cartooon at 2 p.m., plus drop-in-activities, a photo booth, a "Make and Take" puppet workshop, and a "Puppet Zoo" with House Theatre, FlipFlap Productions, Heart of the Beast, Adventure Stage and more.
 


Volkenburg Puppetry Symposium
Saturday January 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E Chicago Ave.
Free and open to the public

This international symposium brings together artists from Manual Cinema, Blind Summit, Stan's Cafe and others with invited scholars from diverse fields to investigate the meaning, vitality and relevance of contemporary puppetry.  At once cutting to the heart of puppetry and seeking its broadest significance, participants will address questions such as:  How do we attach identity to a face? How do we perceive realness and fakeness?  Where do we find meaning in materiality?

Conceived and organized by Blair Thomas (Artistic Director, Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival), Leslie Danzig (Curator, Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry) and Sarah Fornace (Co-Artistic Director, Manual Cinema), this day-long event will be of interest to artists and thinkers from any discipline with an interest in the creative pursuit of inquiry and the tension between ideas and practice.

Presented by the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry in partnership with the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Check chicagopuppetfest.org/symposium for more details on participants, schedule for the day and registration information.


FESTIVAL PRESENTERS
The new Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival is intended to be a bi-annual event to establish Chicago as a prominent center for the art of puppetry practices by artists in the world today. Led by Artistic Director Blair Thomas, the festival builds on the city's hunger for high quality international theater work, while at the same time harnessing the spirit of collaboration with established local presenters: 

FESTIVAL SPONSORS
The inaugural festival is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Reva & David Logan Family Foundation, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Jentes Family Foundation, with additional in-kind support from the League of Chicago Theatres.

 

OFFICIAL HOTEL 
The Official Hotel of the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival - the Warwick Allerton Hotel Chicago, 701 N. Michigan Ave. in downtown Chicago - is pleased to offer festival attendees and their guests a discounted rate of $82 per night (plus tax). To secure this discount, call toll free, (877) 701-8111, call the Warwick Allerton directly at (312) 440-1500, or enter discount code PUPPT11515 online at warwickhotels.com/allerton-hotel-chicago/


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