Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Selfish Giant, A Gentle Giant

It was our pleasure to see Chicago Children's Theatre's production of The Selfish Giant on Saturday. Children were invited up front, to snuggle up in sleeping bag like sound blankets. From this vantage point, the hulking giant puppets and hand crafted wooden marionettes loomed over the little ones. The costume above encompassed Joshua Holden, Alternate Puppeteer, who peered through the white mesh of the shirt, as the Giant's head towered above his own. The children looked up with rapt attention as a wizened Old Man Winter marionette dusted them with snowflakes, and were captivated as winter melted into spring.

The entire show was comprised of guitar and mandolin songs, composed and played by Master Musician, Michael Smith. He is an award winning author, who has written and performed pieces for Victory Gardens and Steppenwolf, and has called Chicago home for 30 years. It was a gentle score, reminiscent of folk tales around a fireplace, and a refreshing divergence from the frenetic scores of much children's entertainment.

The production's roots in Redmoon Theatre were apparent as the giant manifested as a full sized human with a puppet head and as a smaller wooden character. Blair Thomas, Puppeteer and Creator of all of the show's puppets, co-founded Redmoon Theatre and worked on their large scale spectacles for 10 years. He has brought his award winning puppetry skills, and visionary craftsmenship to life once again.

Families can continue to creatively enjoy The Selfish Giant at home. Programs are written on 11 x 17" coloring pages featuring the giant in his garden and directing children to find and color all four seasons. Original cast recordings of the soundtrack are available for $10. Tickets are available at hottixs for $14 (regular price $28 adults and $18 children).

The Selfish Giant runs through March 1, so take a walk on the (Oscar) Wilde side, and see The Selfish Giant.
Giant Watercolor

Giant Title

January 18 - March 1, 2009
The Museum of Science and Industry

in the Little Theater

57th Street and Lake Shore Drive

Created by Blair Thomas/

Fast Fish Puppet Theater

Original Music by Michael Smith

Adapted from the classic short story

by Oscar Wilde

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