Saturday, January 21, 2017

Photo Recap: The Living Room Tour Fundraiser For The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival

Every two years something truly spectacular emerges from it's cocoon of paper mache, strings, and big ideas... The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival. We covered the inaugural fest and plan to do extensive pre, post and present news, reviews and interviews related to the fest. Our 2017 puppet fest adventures began in November with The Living Room Tour, an intimate and excellent fundraising series that took place in 3 unique locals. 

ChiIL Mama ChiILin' in Chi, IL with the creations of Canadian puppeteer extraordinaire, 
Magali Chouinard 

Check out our full set of shots 
from the evening in the slide show here. 
More favorites are embedded below.

I was invited to the first event in Logan Square, hosted by Rick Stoneham, theatre aficionado and puppet fest board member, who sponsored the fabulous catered Indonesian dinner (via The Rice Table) and Dorothy Zalewski and Dan Engh, who graciously opened their gorgeous home. 

Dorothy, Blair Thomas, & Dan

fabulous feast catered by The Rice Table

It was quite a memorable event with a salon vibe and the unique opportunity to chat with art and theatre lovers and catch 2 puppet shows, both with a black and white aesthetic, yet quite different styles and themes. 

Many of the evening's guests enjoyed picking the brains of Blair Thomas, one of the masterminds behind the fest, and brilliant puppeteer, Magali Chouinard. It was my great pleasure to interview both of them and record Blair Thomas and company's show, Edward Gorey's "The Gashlycrumb Tinies", exclusive to the 2016 Living Room Tour! This delightfully dark abecedarian tale is a long time fav of mine, and was indeed told in rhyming couplets. The terrific trio brought this macabre tale of premature deaths to life as a scrolling table top puppet show replete with screams, narration, sound effects and copious amounts of laughter from the crowd.

Blair Thomas and Co. Present Edward Gorey's "The Gashlycrumb Tinies":

Behind the scenes notes for Edward Gorey's "The Gashlycrumb Tinies

Festival artist, Magali Chouinard came in from Canada, for her first visit to Chicago, and we were blown away by the excerpt of "The White Woman" she performed for us. Magali has been touring large venues all over Europe with her show and said she's never performed in a space as intimate as The Living Room Tour. Chouinard is a mistress of manipulation, imbuing her puppets with curiosity and personality and artfully becoming at once a character and simultaneously a hauntingly blank eyed puppet master. She'll be bringing the full piece back in January. Highly recommended.

In The White Woman, Montreal's Magali Chouinard takes a tender look at how solitude can be a special place, a place where we discover and rediscover ourselves. By daring to be silent, to move slowly and deliberately, and by steering away from a linear narrative, Chouinard invites audiences to invest themselves in an otherworldly visual poem.

Magali Chouinard is a multidisciplinary artist. The female body, movement, presence and interiority lie at the heart of her poetic and visual research. Thirty years of exploration - drawing, sculpture, installation art, performance and writing - have been converging since 2008 towards the art of puppetry and its ability to bring movement to her visual landscape. Her theatre of images is both unique and striking.  Video

Check back early and often with (family friendly) & (adult). We'll have loads of news about all the puppet happenings and more coming out shortly! Get your advanced tickets and full scheduling updates HERE. More show times may be added throughout the fest as shows sell out, so do check back.

ChiIL Mama's Living Room Tour Photo Favs:

Puppeteer, Magali Chouinard (rt) visits with guests at the Living Room Tour Fundraiser

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