Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Chicago Puppet Fest 2017

For the next 10 days, local, national, and international puppet companies are descending on Chicago to partake in the second biannual Chicago International Puppet Theatre Festival.  There are over 20 venues, over 50 performances, a symposium, a neighborhood tour, and lots lots more.

This is the second year of the festival, which runs every two years.

Here's the preview video of the festival:

2017 Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival: January 19-29 from Wickstrom Design on Vimeo.

The festival is founded and directed by Blair Thomas, a world-renowned puppeteer and designer who resides right here in Chicago. Blair has twice earned the highest international puppet honor, the UNIMA Excellence in Puppetry Award. He's taught at a number of universities, and is currently on faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His company (appropriately titled Blair Thomas & Co.) is the producer of the festival, and has created over a dozen original puppet theatre pieces.

The festival has a number of different events aimed at different audiences. I'm selecting a few for family audiences, but please go to their website and check out all of the shows available.  They have shows that are aimed at adults also.  Don't bring the kids to those, but you will be delighted!

 Here's a link to the pdf of the Map and schedule.


Italy’s Teatro dei Piedi (January 20-22) stages characters whose stories are by turns romantic, ironic, poetic and ridiculous – with their feet! Using puppetry, mime, and a little bit of contortion, Laura Kibel and Veronic González put their hands, feet and knees together to create extraordinarily articulate characters.
Please Note: This performance takes place at two different venues.
Beverly Art Center: Friday, January 20 at 7:00pm and Saturday, January 21 at 11:00am
Instituto Cervantes:Saturday, January 21 at 7:00pm and Sunday, January 22 at 11:00am

Adventure Stage Chicago presents Bulgarian theatre company Théatre Puzzle's show Plastique. (January 21-23)   The show presents a plastic bag world where the colorful plastic creatures within appear, transform, fly, get bored, fall in love, get angry, etc.   As the puppets perform, they start to resemble people (at least in their actions) This show is supposed to be very funny, and looks very fun.

Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic (January 26-29) is a visually breathtaking cinematic shadow play for all ages, created by Hamid Rahmanian in collaboration with Larry Reed. The play unfolds an action-packed magical tale of star-crossed lovers from the 10th-century Persian epic Shahnameh (The Book of Kings). Inspired by Iranian visual traditions, Rahmanian uses puppets, costumes, masks,  and digital animation to bring the story to life on a cinema-sized screen.  The show runs 70 minutes long, and is suitable for all ages.  MORE INFO

Open Eye Figure Theatre’s adaptation of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (January 27-28)  is a look at youth, aging, and the allure of power. Creator Michael Sommers uses Goethe’s 1797 poem Der Zauberlehrling as inspiration, expanding on the young apprentice’s mishaps and mistakes in this original work with a unique Open Eye approach. With its highly-designed production, original score, and masterful puppetry, the show appeals to both adults and children. MORE INFO

Manual Cinema transforms Edith Nesbit’s novel The Magic City (January 27-29) into a live, cinematic shadow puppet show in this new work commissioned by Chicago Children’s Theatre. When a young girl moves into a new home, she entertains herself by building a city using household objects. Through some magic, she finds herself inside the city, surrounded by life.  Please note: Performances January 27-29 are Previews.  The show will run at Chicago Children's Theatre through Feb. 19. MORE INFO

Make sure to find the rest of the Puppet festival shows on their website

1 comment:

Kent Sommer said...

This is a gorgeous place, and I won't soon forget it. Attended an event here sponsored by the company. The reception hour was held in one of the rooms next to the NYC venues. I loved their buttery mashed sweet potato.