Pulling Strings

Puppets: There’s so much more to them than Miss Piggy or Punch and Judy… Not convinced? Maybe you should catch one of the 99 (!) performances that make up the schedule at Chicago’s International Puppet Festival, which runs January 19–29: 10 days of very grown-up magic. Festival venues are all over the city, but you’ll find some good choices near Lincoln Park and in the Gold Coast:

Cendres, at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater on North Lincoln (January 20–22): The title means “ashes,” which is appropriate, as this thriller by the French group Plexus Polaire features the true-crime story of a Norwegian arsonist.

Chicago International Puppet FestivalCourtesy of Fanchon BilBille

Kick the Klown Presents a Konkatenation of Kafka, also at the Victory Gardens Biograph (January 19–22): See? We told you puppets weren’t just for kids. This collaboration between Evanston-based puppetmaster Michael Montenegro and playwright/director Greg Allen tackle the works of the immortal Franz K. By the way, this Biograph is the Biograph—the very theater where John Dillinger was killed by the Feds back in 1934.

Chicago International Puppet FestivalCourtesy of Blair Thomas & Co.

Chiflón, el Silencio del Carbón, at the Museum of Contemporary Art (January 19–22): The Chilean collective Silencio Blanco created this silent production based on a short story by Baldomero Lillo about a tragedy in a notorious coal mine.

Chicago International Puppet FestivalCourtesy of Silencio Blanco

Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth, at the Water Tower Water Works (January 19–29): The Lookingglass Theatre Company presents the meta fairy tale to end all fairy tales, using a combination of regular puppets, shadow puppets, and human actors.

Chicago International Puppet FestivalCourtesy of Liz Lauren

Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic, at the Studebaker Theatre (January 26–29): Also drawing on the shadow-play tradition, this combination of film and puppetry brings the 10th-century Book of Kings to life. Plus, it’s being shown in one of our favorite places in all of Chicago: the lakefront Fine Arts Building.

feathersoffire_19Courtesy of Blair Thomas & Co.

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