Chicago Shakespeare Theater
World’s Stage presentation from UK's Blind Summit
Headlines the inaugural Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival
Puppeteers develop work-in-progress Fridays and Saturdays
Chicago—January 12, 2015—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) welcomes Blind Summit’s The Table, to headline the inaugural Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, a celebration of dynamic and inventive puppet performance in cultural institutions across the city, now through January 25, 2015. Returning to Chicago Shakespeare after a critically acclaimed run in 2013, this World’s Stage Series presentation from the UK features the unforgettable Moses, a cantankerous and loveable puppet with a cardboard head facing an existential crisis—on a table. After 8:00 p.m. performances on Fridays and Saturdays, Blind Summit also invites audiences to stay in the theater for brief workshop sessions where the puppeteers improvise with new characters in the development of their newest work, Citizen Puppet.
Intended to be a theatrical interpretation of the biblical story of Moses, The Table is performed by a grizzled, crotchety old man. But the grumpy puppet narrator strays far from the planned storyline and winds up playing out his own hilarious, existential crisis as his puppeteers improvise and interact with each other and the audience. Premiered at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival to a sold-out run, The Table was honored with a Fringe First Award for outstanding new work. Time Out London calls The Table “absolutely sublime, the best thing this excellent company has ever done.”
The Table is created in the Japanese Bunraku style, performed completely on the table top with multiple puppeteers visible to the audience. Blind Summit’s puppeteers breathe poignant life into the character using humor and improvisation, revealing something of ourselves in the cardboard, wood and fabric creation onstage.
Following Friday and Saturday evening performances, Blind Summit puppeteers are workshopping elements from their latest work-in-progress, Citizen Puppet. Audience members are invited to stay and experience the troupe’s unique form of improvisational character development as they refine the puppet performance, much in the way that The Table was created. Citizen Puppet—featuring three new puppet characters named Tina, Howie and Suki—delves into the lives of people on the political “fringe,” exploring truths (and lies) about our political systems and society. Citizen Puppet will premiere in the UK this March.
Founded by Mark Down and Nick Barnes in 1997, Blind Summit Theatre is reinventing puppetry for modern adult audiences, bringing together internationally renowned puppetry innovators to devise new works and engage in stunning collaborations. London’s The Guardian declares Blind Summit to be “the UK's puppet masters, a company whose shows have proved that puppetry doesn't have to come either with apologies or strings attached."
Founded to establish Chicago as a center for the advancement of the art of puppetry, the city-wide Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival will showcase an entertaining and eclectic array of puppet styles from around the world, including marionettes, shadow puppets, Bunraku puppets, tiny toy puppets, and distinctive, innovative styles of contemporary puppetry. Nearly 50 different performances are slated, showcasing more than 50 artists and a dozen puppet theater acts from around the globe. Chicago Shakespeare joins the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Field Museum of Natural History, The Second City and other Chicago cultural institutions in the weeklong festival.
The Table is presented January 14–25, 2015 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Tickets for The Table are on sale now for $35. All patrons receive a 40% discount on guaranteed parking in Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets or a season subscription, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit www.chicagoshakes.com.
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
CST is a leading international theater company, known for extraordinary productions; unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students; and serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is the recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award®. Its work has been recognized internationally with three of London’s prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards, and by the Chicago theater community with over 75 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Artistic Excellence.
Since the inception of the World’s Stage Series in 2000, CST has hosted over 30 iconic troupes, such as: The Abbey Theatre (Dublin), Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (London), the Chekhov International Theatre Festival (Moscow) and La Comédie-Française (Paris). The works presented by these companies range from intimate one-man works, like South African Omphile Molusi’s Itsoseng, to grand spectacles like the French troupe Ilotopie’s Water Fools (Fous de Bassin), performed entirely atop the waters of Lake Michigan. CST has contributed to this exciting international exchange by sending some of its best works abroad, including: the Olivier Award-winning production of Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures (2003); Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, which marked CST’s debut at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon (2006); and Othello: The Remix (2012), which debuted at Shakespeare’s Globe in London, followed by a world to Edinburgh, Germany, Chicago, South Korea and Sydney.
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