Tuesday, November 20, 2018


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar


January 17-27, 2019

Blair Thomas, Founder and Artistic Director, Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival
Credit: Saverio Truglia

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we've been out to cover every year of the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival and we're beyond excited to see what's in store for 2019! Check back early and often for our top picks in advance and our reviews and coverage on social media and our web sites throughout the fest. I'll be out to review Ajijaak on Turtle Island opening night on the 17th and hope to catch many of these world class shows, so check back soon for my full review.

Ajijaak on Turtle Island 

Full Lineup for the 3rd Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival including contemporary puppet acts and artists from Chicago, the U.S. and around the world to be presented at venues large and small throughout the city, January 17-27, 2019.

Founded to establish Chicago as a center for the advancement of the art of puppetry, the citywide Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival will showcase an entertaining and eclectic array of puppet styles from around the world. In sum, the 2019 festival will present more than 80 performances of 24 shows from 11 countries over 11 days at 19 different Chicago-area venues.
Following is more information about each presentation, including venues, dates, times, ticket prices, estimated run time and video links (when available).

Visit the festival website, ChicagoPuppetFest.org, to purchase tickets and learn more about this world pageant of puppet artists and shows for residents and visitors to experience in January (shows are listed in each category in alphabetical order by show title):

2019 Festival Opener from the First Nation

For the first time, the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival will present a First Nation puppet tale, an all-ages spectacle production for the entire family, and one of the opening weekend presentations January 17-20 at the historic Studebaker Theater in downtown Chicago:

Photo Credit: Theo Cote

Ajijaak on Turtle Island
By IBEX Puppetry (New York City)
Written by Ty Defoe
Lyrics by Ty Defoe and Dawn Avery
Music by Dawn Avery & Larry Mitchell, Kevin Tarrant and Ty Defoe
Based on original storyboards written and drawn by Heather Henson
Co-Directed by Ty Defoe and Heather Henson
Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
January 17-20: Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $40/$30 students
Run time: 60 minutes
Recommended for all ages - family friendly

A fabulous, family friendly First Nation spectacle celebrating an eco-focused story featuring performers and elements of the Ojibwe, Lakota, and Cherokee Nations about the many connections between the sand hill cranes, earth and people. Follow Ajijaak on her migration on Turtle Island (North America) and notice how she learns wisdom from Indigenous peoples of past, present, and future. The crane is a metaphor and sacred symbol to help us mark the survival of living cultures still thriving today along the fly-a-way.

Heather Henson's IBEX Puppetry aims to promote health & healing for the planet through artistic spectacle and the fine art of puppetry. IBEX is an entertainment company dedicated to promoting puppetry in all of its various mediums, nurturing work for a myriad of venues including stage, film and gallery. ibexpuppetry.com

Ajijaak on Turtle Island is presented in partnership with the American Indian Center.

The Festivals Exchange

The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival is proud to announce the establishment of The Festivals Exchange, a new program in partnership with international festivals and inaugurated in partnership with Festival mondial des théâtres de marionnettes (The World Puppetry Festival) in Charleville-Mézières, France.

In January 2019, as part of the 3rd Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, Chicago will play host to three established French companies: La Pendue, Plexus Polaire and, with co-presenter Chicago Shakespeare, Compagnie Non Nova. In fall of 2019, The Festivals Exchange will continue with a curated series of reciprocal performances by U.S. artists at the World Puppetry Festival in France.

The Festivals Exchange is thanks to the support of The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund. The program is also supported by FACE Contemporary Theater, a program developed by FACE Foundation and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States with the support from the Florence Gould Foundation, Institute français-Paris, the French Ministry of Culture and private donors. Additional support for women artists has been provided by Fondation CHANEL.

The three French productions playing Chicago as part of the inaugural Festivals Exchange are:

Chambre Noire
By Plexus Polaire (France/Norway)
Presented as part of The Festivals Exchange
Dance Center at Columbia College, 1306 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
January 18 and 19: Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $30 regular/$24 seniors/$10 students
Run time: 65 minutes
For ages 16 and up

Having debuted in the United States opening the 2017 Chicago Puppet Festival with Cendres, Plexus Polaire returns to Chicago with Chambre Noire, a wild hallucination around the deathbed of Valerie Solanas: radical feminist, creator of the SCUM Manifesto, the woman who shot Andy Warhol, a character that is complex, multi-sided, outrageous and absolutely human. Inspired by Sara Stridsberg’s novel “The Dream-faculty,” this performance is a duo with puppeteer Yngvild Aspeli and percussionist Ane Marthe Sørlien Holen, with life-sized puppets, broken songs, video-projections, a good dose of humor and a desert of solitude.

Norwegian born, Yngvild Aspeli, artistic director of Plexus Polaire, develops a visual universe that gives life to the most hidden feelings. The use of life-sized puppets is at the center of her work, but the double presence of the actor- puppeteer, the presence of the music, the use of light and video, are all equal elements in communicating the story. The meeting point of these different expressions creates an expanded language that opens up communication on several levels. Among Plexus Polaire, she has created four shows touring internationally: Signals (2008), Opera Opaque (2013), Cendres / Ashes (2014, opening act of the 2017 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival) and Chambre Noire (2017). Most of her works are inspired by literature. She is now working on the adaptation on Moby Dick for 2020. plexuspolaire.com

L’après-midi d’un foehn Version 1
By Compagnie Non Nova (France)
Created by Phia Ménard
Co-presented with Chicago Shakespeare Theater
The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago
January 23-27: Wednesday-Friday at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday at 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Sunday at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Tickets: $25
Run time: 30 minutes
For all ages

Prepare to be blown away! France’s Compagnie Non Nova takes an ordinary object—a flimsy plastic shopping bag—and transforms it into something magical. Anthropomorphized plastic figures take flight buffeted on invisible waves as a performer manipulates them with precise, complex choreography, creating an intoxicating visual ballet out of the everyday. The Guardian called L’après-midi d’un foehn Version 1 “A brilliant metaphor of art and the imagination,” while Express U.K. raved it’s “the best use of the derided plastic bag ever seen.”

Compagnie Non Nova was founded in 1998 by Phia Ménard with the desire to approach juggling from a different angle, through the scenic and dramaturgical structure of each piece. “Non nova, sed nove” (“not new things, but in a new way”) is the company’s founding precept. Its many multidisciplinary projects have brought together artists, technicians and thinkers from various horizons with diverse experiences. It is not a collective, but a professional team, with Phia Ménard in charge of the artistic direction. To date, the various projects by Compagnie Non Nova have been performed in countries across six continents. cienonnova.com

Tria Fata
By Compagnie La Pendue (France)
Presented as part of The Festivals Exchange
Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago
January 21-23: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $25/$20 students/seniors
Run time: 55 minutes
For ages 10 and up

She is a puppeteer. He is a musician. Life and death are playing in their cabaret. The big imaginary machinery they are activating together strangely looks like the one which presides over our destinies: the Ancients believed this weaving loom belongs to the three Parcae - Tria Fata - where the threads of our lives are weaving, uncoiling and breaking.

La Pendue, Theatre Company, puppets and sensitive metamorphosis, was created in 2003 in Grenoble by Estelle Charlier and Romuald Collinet, two former pupils of the National School for Puppetry of Charleville-Mézières. The company’s work leans toward two divergent and complementary directions. First, traditional glove puppet productions inspired by the 400-year-old character Polichinelle (Pulcinella), through the show Poli dégaine. Also, contemporary work which experiments with different puppetry techniques (string puppets, shadows and other techniques still uncategorized). However, these two lines agree on the essential: revealing the original human by means of his acting. lapendue.fr

More International

In addition to France, puppet artists and companies from Belgium, Chile, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Puerto Rico and Spain complete the contingent of nine international acts at the 3rd Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, including:

Arde Brillante en los bosques de la noche (Burning bright in the forest of the night)
By Mariano Pensotti (Argentina)
Co-presented with MCA Stage-Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
MCA Chicago, Edlis Neeson Theatre, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago
January 24-27: Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $30/$10 students
For ages 16 and up

Argentine author/director Mariano Pensotti’s Burning bright in the forest of the night combines puppet theater and film to weave together the stories of three characters inspired by the Soviet revolution. The performance follows an exhausted university teacher, a young guerrilla fighter, and a TV journalist as they explore government control and the limits of resistance, asking if they are spectators or participants in their country’s history. Seamlessly cycling between live performance, moving image, and puppetry, Pensotti creates fictions within fictions, turning political strife from a bygone era into a question for our time. Burning bright in the forest of the night is presented in Spanish with English supertitles.

Mariano Pensotti began his career in cinema, directing award-winning feature films in Buenos Aires by the age of 25 before turning to theater. His central goal is the public display of the private, and how the private returns to become a part of the collective through literature, cinema, music, and visual art. His performances are a “theater of the real,” pushing real lives onstage to reconsider what is fictional and what is the creation process. Derived from improvisation and experimentation throughout the rehearsal period, his theater is not fiction based in real life, but a document of a lived experience. marianopensotti.com

Axis: The importance of human sacrifice in the 21st Century
By Compagnie Gare Centrale and Une Compagnie (Belgium)
Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago
January 25-27: Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $40; $30 students/seniors
For ages 16 and up
Run time: 60 minutes

It’s official. The world is going to hell in a hand basket, while a pair of decadent plutocrats is trying to hang on to their privileges. The axis that has kept them upright, proud and arrogant for ages begins to look more and more like a roundabout. Faced with the enigmatic, the incomprehensible, they lose the capacity for language transforming into a horrible jargon of disoriented humans, into long obsessive complaints, while around them the voices of their unconsciousness resound. Once hard, now flaccid.

Axis features Agnès Limbos (Gare Centrale) and Thierry Hellin (Une Compagnie) who met each other during the creation of La Cigogne et le Coucou, a children's theatre project by the Cie Arts et Couleurs (2007). She was directing, he was the coo-coo and the desire to continue this encounter was born. She comes from object theatre, he from text theater. Her company (Gare Centrale) is an object theater company she founded in 1984 in Belgium, with 15 original shows that have played all over the world. His company (Une Compagnie) is a theater for young audiences. Founded in 1996 in Huy, Belgium, and directed by Eric Durnez, Thierry Hellin and Thierry Lefèvre, with more than 19 original creations as well as tours in France and Quebec. garecentrale.be 

By Borja Ytuquepintas (Spain)
Co-presented with Instituto Cervantes de Chicago
Instituto Cervantes de Chicago, 31 W. Ohio St., Chicago
January 18 and 19: Friday at 5 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Tickets: $20/$15 students and Cervantes members
For ages 4 and up
Run time: 55 minutes

Borja González tells us, with only a little bit of sand and his hands, a story of JoJo (“YoYo” in Spanish) an orangutan inspired by real events, which invites audiences to reflect on the fragility of the ecosystem and the delicate balance it demands. In the deepest forest of Borneo, fires are threatening jungle sustainability. A small orangutan is away from his mother, unprotected, and sees how humans destroy their entire habitat, causing deforestation of the jungle, endangering the survival of animals and plants.

Based in Mataró (Barcelona), Ytuquepintas is a young Catalan company which has been active since 2012. It was founded by the multidisciplinary artist Borja González, accompanied by composer and pianist Roc Sala, with Joaquim Aragó in charge of production. Art made with sand is the main basis of the shows developed by the Ytuquepintas company. Drawings are created live on a hand crafted light table and projected in real time to a big screen. These images are accompanied by live music, large format puppets and speed sand painting, telling beautiful and poetic stories. borjasandartist.com

Manufacturing Mischief
By Pedro Reyes (Mexico)
Co-presented by the Logan Center with support from University of Chicago Theater and Performance Studies
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Theater East
915 E 60th St., Chicago
January 18-20: Friday at 8 p.m. (with post-performance talk), Saturday at
8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m.
Tickets: $20/$10 students
For ages 13 and up
Run time: 55 minutes

Noam Chomsky, Steve Jobs, Ayn Rand, Karl Marx, Elon Musk and President Trump are among the figures represented in Pedro Reyes’s satirical puppet play, Manufacturing Mischief. The work tackles ideas around the ethics of artificial intelligence, the use of technology to solve all humanity’s problems, the current political climate in the United States and Randian philosophy. The play, which grew out of Reyes’ artist residency at MIT, uses comedy to comment on morality, freedom, inequality and techno-enthusiasm. Also, Karl Marx raps. 

Pedro Reyes is a widely celebrated multi-platform artist, activist and educator based in Mexico City. He uses all aspects of visual art and education to address political and social issues. One of his main commitments is using the arts to reduce gun violence. In 2008, Reyes commenced Palas por Pistolas. The program collected over 1,527 guns donated from Mexican citizens, melted them down into 1,527 shovels, and then gave them to various schools and art institutions, which in turn used them to plant 1,527 trees. The program's success garnered attention from the Mexican government, which donated 6,700 weapons that Reyes converted into musical instruments. pedroreyes.net

Paper Cut
By Yael Rasooly (Israel)
Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago
January 18-20: Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m.; Sunday at 4 p.m.
Tickets: $25/$20 students
Run Time: 60 minutes
For ages 16 and up

A lonely secretary remains in the office after everyone else has gone home. From her little corner, using photos from old film magazines, she escapes into a world of daydreams. There she is a glamorous movie star from the 1940s and finds her ideal love at last. But as the story unravels, as imagination and reality collide, her romantic tale becomes a Hitchcock nightmare. This one-woman show reveals the obsessions and dangers of romantic fantasies.

Yael Rasooly is a visual theater director, actress, singer and puppeteer. Born in Jerusalem in 1983, Rasooly is one of Israel's leading independent theater artists. Her distinct theatrical language is based on a multidisciplinary approach, combining different forms of theatre, puppetry, Object Theater, visual art and music. Alongside her prolific theatrical career, she also performs as a singer with numerous ensembles and orchestras in Europe and North America. Her performances range vastly in themes, scales and visual representation. They have been performed in over 30 countries and received numerous international awards and critical praise. yaelrasooly.com

Co-presented with Instituto Cervantes de Chicago
By Silencio Blanco (Chile)
Instituto Cervantes de Chicago, 31 W. Ohio St., Chicago
January 25 and 26: Friday at 5 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Tickets: $25/$20 students and Cervantes members
Run time: 50 minutes
For ages 10 and up

Silencio Blanco returns to the Chicago Puppet Festival with its third play devoted to men of the sea. Pescador (Fisherman) digs into the intimacy of those men who are submerged in their solitary crafts and confronted with nature’s immensity. The play finds its dwelling in those places which have become awkward, strange to us: a man by his boat and his fishing net, establishing an invaluable connection with his trade. It is silence in all its forms. It is the dance of silence.

Silencio Blanco has distinguished itself by its meticulous work with puppets of great expressiveness, made from everyday materials such as newspaper and chopsticks. The company devises its productions from observation and field research, delving into the lives of everyday people and solitary jobs. Exploring from gesture and forgoing text they are able to transfer human’s movement towards the marionettes provoking an illusion in the audience to the point of transmitting the character’s heartbeat. The emotional eloquence of the marionettes along with the thematic depth of its shows have taken the company to present its work at prominent stages abroad, including the 2017 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival with the critically acclaimed work Chiflón el Silencio del Carbón. silencioblanco.cl

Pinocchio. A musical fantasy for puppets and actors
By Teatro del Drago (Italy)
Co-presented with Beverly Arts Center and Istituto Italiano di Cultura Chicago
Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago
January 25-27: Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.
Tickets: $20/$15 students
Run Time: 60 minutes
For ages 5 and up

The scenography and the puppets in this Pinocchio are inspired by the images of Alain Letort, a French artist who paid homage to the famous puppet by creating 12 china boards, then colored by the painter Gianni Plazzi. The plot reflects the characters of the drawings creating "independent paintings and scenes" like a collage that wants to visually retrace the famous story of Collodi. The original soundtrack was composed by the Morrigan's Wake group and Claudio Capucci.

Teatro del Drago is the company of one of the oldest Italian families of performing arts in the field of puppets and marionettes from the first half of the nineteenth century: the Monticelli family. The brothers Mauro and Andrea, current Artistic Directors, represent the fifth generation of this uninterrupted tradition. The activity takes place on two sides: the traditional one, with the traditional puppet shows and the conservation of the Monticelli Collection materials, collected in the La Casa delle Marionette museum and the research one through the shows of contemporary figure theater, where he concretizes a personal artistic line, original in the animation techniques and in the dramaturgical concept. teatrodeltrago.it

Shank’s Mare
By Tom Lee and Koryu Nishikawa V (U.S. and Japan)
Co-presented by The Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave. Stock Exchange Trading Room
January 17-19: Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The matinee performance is followed by a workshop for audience members.
Tickets: $35; $30 students and Art Institute members
Run Time: 80 minutes
For ages 8 and up

Presented on the occasion of the exhibition Painting the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Masterpieces from the Weston Collection, Shank's Mare is a collaborative puppet performance by American puppet artist Tom Lee and Japanese traditional puppeteer Koryu Nishikawa V. This beautifully detailed production combines Japanese traditional puppetry, live video projection of miniature sets and a haunting score on hammered dulcimer and Japanese shamisen and flute to tell the story of two wandering travelers whose paths intersect in time and space.

Tom Lee is a puppet artist, designer and director. He appeared on Broadway in War Horse, in Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera and creates original work that often explores the synthesis of manipulated objects, miniatures and puppets with the language of film and animation. Koryu Nishikawa V is the fifth generation headmaster of Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo (cart puppetry theatre of Hachioji), a 160-year-old traditional puppet theater. Trained by his father and grandfather, he studied puppetry at the Bunraku National Theatre and received his stage name Koryu Nishikawa V in 1996. Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo has taught and performed in over forty countries including UNIMA festivals in the Soviet Union, England, India and France. tomleeprojects.com kurumaningyo.com

Free Festival Neighborhood Tour

This year the Chicago Puppet Festival’s Free Festival Neighborhood Tour will bring free performances by amazing puppeteers from Italy and Puerto Rico to every corner of the city:

By Gaspare Nasuto (Italy)

From the traditional Italian Commedia dell’Arte comes the very original of the form, hand puppet trickster Pulicinella, who upon migration to England became known to English speakers as Punch. Impeccable timing and hysterical predicaments performed in a classic puppet booth, Pulicinella encounters a host of characters from Scaramouche to the crocodile.

Italy’s Gaspare Nasuto is one of the masters of this traditional form performing comic lazzi to the delight of all ages. gasparenasuto.wixsite.com/ladomusdipulcinella

The Beginning of Nothing
By Poncili Creación (Puerto Rico)

In this fantastical journey audiences witness the clash of two worlds unknown yet familiar, one luscious and beautiful, the other gloomy and scary. All actions in these worlds seem to have strong repercussions on the other. How can both worlds survive this terrible codependency? At times a metaphor for our current society or even for survival itself, The Beginning of Nothing is a visually stunning journey that makes its way down an impossible path with a breeze of hope, told in a dazzling spiral of color and dance.

Poncili Creación is an interactive sculpture collective based in Puerto Rico. Since 2012, they have worked with large scale sculptures they call Objects. Out of these Objects they generate audiovisual and performative content. Their tours have taken them around the United States, Canada, Europe and Dominican Republic performing at festivals, squats, venues, bars, schools and bathrooms. Their work has been shown in galleries and art fairs around the world as interactive sculpture. Their artistic process is an exploration on how they can impact and alter their life, others and reality through their understanding of objects and movement and the application of that understanding. Instagram.com/poncilicreacion

There are six neighborhood locations:

Marquette Park, 6743 S. Kedzie Ave., Chicago
Date TBA
chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/Marquette-Park or (312) 747-6469

Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, 4048 W. Armitage, Chicago
Saturday, January 19 at 2 p.m.
segundoruizbelvis.org or (773) 698-6004

Sweet Water Foundation in Englewood/Washington Park, 5749 S. Perry Ave., Chicago
Date TBA
sweetwaterfoundation.com or (312) 508-3982

Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago in the Crystal Garden
Saturday, January 26 at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.
navypier.org or (312) 595-7437

Garfield Park Conservatory, Horticulture Hall, 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago
Date TBA
garfieldconservatory.org or (312) 746-5100

Experimental Station in Woodlawn, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave., Chicago
Sunday, January 27 at 11 a.m. (doors open at 10:30 a.m.)
experimentalstation.org or (312) 241-6044

Both performances are family friendly and for all ages. Tickets are free. Reserve online at chicagopuppetfest.org or first come, first served. Each show runs 40-45 minutes. Audiences are invited to sample shows, meet the artists after each performance, or share a full day of puppetry.

The Festival Neighborhood Tour is presented in partnership with the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series and Navy Pier. 


In addition to the Puerto Rican artists in the Free Festival Neighborhood Tour, featured puppet artists from around the U.S., hailing from New York, North Carolina and Ohio, include:

How to Build a Flying Machine
By Jesse Mooney-Bullock, MoonBull Studio (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Co-presented with The Chicago Park District
Theater on the Lake, 2401 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago
Wednesday, January 23, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Tickets: $20/$15 students
Run time: 70 minutes
For ages 5 and up

How to Build a Flying Machine is a performance about trial, error, and achieving the impossible. Following the story of the Wright brothers, this production explores the process of invention from elation to despair. Hand-operated machines attempt to soar, historical figures come to life, wooden objects rise into thin air. Tapping into the spirit of ingenuity and creative thinking employed by the Wrights, this show offers an inspiring example of how it can be done.

MoonBull Studio is the puppetry design, production and performance company of artist Jesse Mooney-Bullock. His award-winning puppets appear in theatres across the country, and original shows tour the Midwest region. From hand-carved bunraku-style figures to giant creatures of metal and plastic sheeting, MoonBull puppets are pieces of fine art sculpture engineered for visual storytelling. Design credits include Disney's The Little Mermaid (Paramount Theatre), The Oldest Boy (Marin Theatre), The Feast (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) and The Hammer Trinity (The House Theatre of Chicago). Original productions include Rikki Tikki Tavi (adaptation from Kipling's short story), Luigi Bullooney's Circus Menagerie and How to Build a Flying Machine. moonbullstudio.com

Just Another Lynching
By Jeghetto (North Carolina)
Links Hall, Studio B, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago
January 19 and 20: Saturday at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $20/$15 students/seniors
Run time: 35 minutes plus post-performance conversation
For ages 12 and up

Just Another Lynching features puppets built by Jeghetto, who created this fictional story about a black man being lynched in the South in 1921. This story addresses the racial injustices that built this country. Due to its content, there is an open dialogue between the cast and audience after each performance.

Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins is a self-taught artist from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who has been building puppets for 16 years. He does performances and workshops across the country entertaining and educating children of all ages through the art of puppetry. He was awarded two grants from the Henson Foundation for his stage show 5P1N0K10 (A Hip Hopera about an Android who wants to be a real B boy). He was also a puppeteer in Missy Elliott and Pharrell Williams hit video “WTF” (Where They From). Jeghetto now performs with his son Tarin who works at his side in children’s productions as well as his puppet shows with adult themes such as Just Another Lynching. Jeghetto.com

By Andy Gaukel (New York City)
Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago
January 25-27: Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m.; Sunday at 4 p.m.
Tickets: $25; $20 students/seniors
For ages 16 and up
Run time: 45 minutes

Schweinehund is inspired by the true story of Pierre Seel, a Frenchman deported to a concentration camp on suspicion of homosexuality in 1941. Performed on a wooden table, skeletal puppets interact with projected video-animations evoking powerful snapshots of the atrocities Seel endured juxtaposed with wistful memories of yesteryears. The haunting soundscape and absence of text make Schweinehund a powerfully moving story of love, loss and the resilience of the human spirit.

New York-based puppeteer Andy Gaukel initially created Schweinehund as a ten-minute performance for the 2011 XPT program at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, GA. Now a full-length piece, Schweinehund performed its world premiere in 2015 at the Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes in Charleville-Mézières, France. In March 2017, Schweinehund had its North American premiere at Casteliers in Montreal and in May 2017 was presented at Le Mouffetard - Théâtre des arts de la marionnette in Paris as part of the BIAM (Biennale internationale des arts de la marionnette). This full-length version was developed in collaboration between Andy Gaukel and puppeteer Myriame Larose from Montréal. andygaukel.com

Chicago’s vibrant contemporary puppet scene will be well represented by:

By Leslie Danzig and Jessica Thebus (Chicago)
Presented in partnership with the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Room 701, 915 E. 60th St., Chicago
January 24-27: Thursday at 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m.; discussion follows each performance
Tickets: Free
Run time: 45-60 minutes
For ages 5 and up

Atalanta is a work-in-progress original adaptation of the myth of Atalanta, using puppetry, circus arts and physical theater for an all-ages audience. Atalanta tells the story of a young woman who holds onto her well-earned independence as a powerhouse athlete while opening herself to the vulnerability of loving someone. Atalanta finds inspiration in Looney Tunes escapades, the transcendent resonance of myth and the graceful ferocity of strong girls.

Atalanta is created and directed by Leslie Buxbaum Danzig & Jessica Thebus in collaboration with performers Amanda Crockett, Michel Rodriguez Cintra and Sean Garratt, and puppet designer K.T. Shivak. Atalanta is supported in part by UChicago Arts and the Committee on Theater and Performance Studies, The University of Chicago.

Leslie Danzig is a collaborating director with Lucky Plush Productions, was co-founder and resident director of 500 Clown, and has worked with Third Coast Percussion, The Actors Gymnasium, The House Theatre, Redmoon, New Victory Theater, About Face Theater, and Elevator Repair Service. She is Assistant Professor of Practice in Theater and Performance Studies, University of Chicago. Jessica Thebus has directed at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Goodman Theatre, The Huntington Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Court Theater and many others. She is Associate Professor of Theater and Director of the MFA Directing Program at Northwestern University.

Immaculate, Poignant & Medium Length (Chicago)
Presented by Rough House and Links Hall
Links Hall, Studio B, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago
January 21-23: Monday through Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $20; $15 students/seniors
Run time: 90 minutes
For ages 12 and up

Chicago is a haven for grown-from-the-ground-up puppetry, thanks to the energy and dedication of local producers, audiences, and the artistic community at large. Come catch a rare look at four respected Chicago area innovators' medium-length works!

The Chicago-based Rough House is committed to connecting individuals and communities through art that celebrates the weird things that make us unique, and the weirder things that bring us together. Its shows use puppetry, music, and human performance to tell stories that are intimate, strange and sincere. For more visit roughhousetheater.com.

Links Hall encourages artistic innovation and public engagement by maintaining a facility and providing flexible programming for the research, development and presentation of new work in the performing arts. linkshall.org

Nasty, Brutish & Short
Presented by Rough House and Links Hall (Chicago)
Links Hall, Studio B, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago
January 18-19 and January 25-26: Fridays and Saturdays at 11 p.m.
Tickets: $10;$8 seniors/students
Run time: 85 minutes
For ages 16 and up

Join Rough House for late night cabarets featuring short works by international festival artists, regional puppeteers and local legends. End your evening with a tasty selection of the raucous, raunchy, dark, sassy, sad, and hilarious. The cabaret is a low-risk environment for artists to perform new and experimental work and foster artistic exchange between puppet artists of different generations and mediums. Mingle in the Links Hall lounge afterwards and get up close and personal with some puppets. nastybrutishshort.com

Rough House connects individuals and communities through art that celebrates the weird things that make us unique, and the weirder things that bring us together. They create theater that captures the heart through the eye. Their shows use puppetry, music, and human performance to tell stories that are intimate, strange, and sincere. Links Hall encourages artistic innovation and public engagement by maintaining a facility and providing flexible programming for the research, development and presentation of new work in the performing arts. roughhousetheater.com  linkshall.org

The Stranger and The Shadow
Co-presented by Adventure Stage Chicago and Rough House (Chicago)
By Rough House
Adventure Stage Chicago, 1012 N. Noble St., Chicago
January 18-20 and January 25-27: Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 4 pm., Sundays at 3 p.m.
Run time: 90 minutes
Tickets: $17/$12 students
For ages 8 and up

An outsider enters a community that is guarded by a shadowy breathing barrier which feeds on the fear of its citizens. Rejected for her differences, she teams up with local misfits to bring to life a new creature powerful enough to fight the monstrous entity. The Stranger and The Shadow uses human actors and life-size puppets to physicalize social forces, drawing inspiration from youth activists who seek to alter cultures of intolerance through empathy and inclusivity.

Adventure Stage Chicago, the participatory arts program of Northwestern Settlement, creates and tells heroic stories about and for young people to engage our community and inspire all of us to be heroes in our own lives. Rough House connects individuals and communities through art that celebrates the weird things that make us unique, and the weirder things that bring us together. They create theater that captures the heart through the eye. Their shows use puppetry, music, and human performance to tell stories that are intimate, strange, and sincere. adventurestage.org roughhousetheater.com

Tabletop Tragedies
By Cabinet of Curiosity (Chicago)
Links Hall, Studio B, 3111 N. Western Ave., Chicago
January 24-26: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.
Tickets: $20/$15 students and seniors
For ages 12 and up
Run time: 85 minutes

Tabletop Tragedies is a triptych of works by Chicago’s Frank Maugeri with longtime collaborator Seth Bockley—The Last Matador, The Death and Life of Billy The Kid, and A Simple Soul. These irreverent, imaginative and affecting works, scored by Liz Chidester, tell true stories of fate and redemption using an astonishing range of techniques including hand-carved wooden puppets, beastly masks, haunting music and an epic Wild West chase scene performed on paper scrolls.

Cabinet of Curiosity is a Chicago-based experimental events company that designs sophisticated, strange and exhilarating rituals, pageants and performances. Its mission is to devise artistic projects that explore the intimate and the sacred, honoring the power of dream, surprise, and physical transformation, while training the next generation of event, art and ceremony makers. In 2017 its first work, Surprise! Death Is Not The End, collected curiously celebratory works on the topic of mortality. cocechicago.com

Tedium written by Mickle Maher and Other Sensations created by Mocrep
By The Neo-Futurists with Mocrep and Theater Oobleck
At The Neo-Futurist Theater
5153 N Ashland Ave., Chicago
January 17-19 and January 24-26: Thursday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $25/$15 students
Run time: 2 hours
For ages 14 and up

The Neo-Futurists explore the absurd text of Theater Oobleck’s Mickle Maher with a barrage of puppet forms at a small tabletop in Tedium, and Mocrep responds in a newly created companion piece, Other Sensations. In a multi-disciplinary journey through déjà vu, meta-theatrical successes and time-bending sonic experiments, a small ensemble of puppeteers and performers soothe the worries and sorrows of the world away.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary this season, The Neo-Futurist Theater is a collective of writer-director-performers who create theater that is a fusion of sport, poetry and living newspaper. The company has created more than 10,300 plays to date within its flagship late-night event (now known as The Infinite Wrench) and more than 65 full-length mainstage productions incorporating its signature non-illusory, interactive style of performance. neofuturists.org

Ellen Van Volkenburg Symposium
Hosted by MCA Chicago
Edlis Neeson Theatre, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago

Before 1912, the year the Little Theater of Chicago was founded in the historic Fine Arts Building, the term “puppeteer” did not even exist. Little Theater director Ellen Van Volkenburg needed a program credit for the actors she had trained to manipulate marionettes while speaking the text of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and she coined the word “puppeteer.” That marked the dawn of the movement that has brought us to the rich art form now practiced around the world.

In Van Volkenburg’s honor, the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival presents two free discussions open to the public featuring festival artists from Chicago, the U.S. and around the world. Both symposiums are moderated by John Bell, University of Connecticut and Director of the Ballad Puppetry Institute:

The Puppet’s Role in Contemporary Theater
Saturday January 19 at 10 a.m.
Moderator John Bell, University of Connecticut and Director of the Ballad Puppetry Institute

Puppetry: Staging the Historical and Political
Saturday January 26 at 10 a.m.

The Catapult
For practicing puppet artists, the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival is offering The Catapult, a multi-day professional training workshop focusing on the dynamic relationship and shared language of puppetry and other artforms. Led by Festival Director and puppeteer Blair Thomas with guest experts from related disciplines, participants will explore the traditions of puppet theater and contemporary intersections with the featured forms.

Participants will explore image making in the dialects of puppetry through workshops, creation and design from experts in the field.

The 2019 Catapult will have three sessions:

Session 1: January 16-19
Inside the Festival Weekend One: a combination of viewing performances, workshops and behind-the-scenes access to festival artists.

Session 2: January 20-23
Workshop Intensive: a focus on hands on workshops and the development of small works.

Session 3: January 24-27
Inside the Festival Weekend Two: a combination of viewing performances, workshops and behind-the-scenes access to festival artists.

The fee is $450 for the program only; $760 for program plus three nights of accommodation. Scholarships are available. Space is limited. Apply online at chicagopuppetfest.org or send inquiries to catapult@chicagopuppetfest.org.
 Chicago Puppet Fest Symposium Trailer 2017
Enjoy a glance at puppetry experts taking part in
the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival's 2017 Symposium.

The Raffaello Hotel, 201 E. Delaware Place in downtown Chicago, is the Official Hotel of the 3rd Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival. In addition to serving as home base for all visiting artists, the Raffaello is offering a discounted rate of $89/night, January 17-27, for the festival’s growing base of fans worldwide, as well as Chicago-area residents looking for a Chicago Puppet Festival “Staycation.” Visit chicagoraffaello.com or call (877) 874-4253 to inquire. Use promo code PUPT.

Blair Thomas, Founder and Artistic Director, Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival
Credit: Saverio Truglia

The festival website, chicagopuppetfest.org, is your online gateway information and tickets to this world pageant of top puppet artists and shows. Tickets go on sale in December. In the interim, sign up on the website to be the first to receive important festival updates. Track the festival hashtag,  #ChiPuppetFest, like the festival on Facebook, or follow the festival on Twitter at @ChiPuppetFest or on Instagram.

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