Editor’s Note—The reviewer of this production saw it on the opening night, which turned out to be the closing night due to the pandemic.
Following, Cabinet of Curiosity was eager to share Farewell Fables. In response to COVID-19, the company said “we want to share our 75 minutes of hope and redemption, beauty and myth, song and surprise with you.”
Donations, to support the artists, were requested.
In this editor's view, the webcast via Facebook was so technically challenged, especially with sound control, it made the performance difficult to follow. Notwithstanding this limitation--and obviously without the kinds of streaming resources the large arts organizations are able to bring to bear on their streaming activities-- the show DID go on, and the talents of this troupe were apparent. Campy and irreverent, with imaginative puppetry-- it certainly created a thirst to see them live when the pandemic passes. Mission accomplished!
Here is the review of the live performance on what turned out to be both its opening and closing performance. Clearly it was different for those in the room-- a post-pandemic teaser.
Never at a loss for a framing good story, Cabinet of Curiosity Director Frank Maugeri and writer Seth Bockley contrived that the old elemental gods representing fire, wind, air and earth are disappointed with mankind. Humans have not turned out as the gods intended, so they (four huge two-dimensional cut-outs that could have come from the studio of Andy Warhol) collaborate to abandon earth. But mankind (a splendid cast of five musicians and puppeteers) tries to entice a change of minds by reconstructing several events from human history. The story of Adam and Eve is a set-up concocted by Eve, who is the first human capable of self-reflection. Moby Dick is an epic story, but Moby is evil and our Ahab/Charley is a gentle accountant on a fishing trip. Sending a hapless Russian dog, Laika, to die in space is an operatic tribute to the under accomplishment of space programs.
THE FAREWELL FABLES is classic Cabinet of Curiosity
THE FAREWELL FABLES is full of physical performance, puppetry, singing, familiar and unfamiliar instruments and lots of whimsy. The room in Links Hall is a large box, 2/3 flat stage and 1/3 gently rising seats. The performance is intimate, so nary a movement is missed. Classical elements of Cabinet of Curiosity’s performances abound--large and small suitcase-like boxes open to become a mini-stage upon the stage. Panels slide out of the boxes for scenery. Three large upright paper scrolls excitingly painted by Kira Schnitzler and hand turned by three cast members tell the Charley’s story of a sea voyage run amuck. Puppeteer Lindsey Noel Whiting’s whale tries to egg Charley on, spewing the wrathful words of Ahab originally spoken to the whale. Whole characters are created with only a hand-manipulated face puppet.
Of the three fables, the first with Eve and the Snake appealed the most to this reviewer. That is because the strong performances by Time Brickey as the Snake and Kasey Foster’s Eve featured on the uncluttered stage. The lines were droll and funny, and delivered with precision.
For lovers of puppet and physical theater, Cabinet of Curiosity productions are a must see. THE FAREWELL FABLES do not disappoint.
THE FAREWELL FABLES: satellites, songs and cereal
Conceived and directed by Frank Maugeri
Text by Seth Bockley
“Whale Song” by Lindsey Noel Whiting Starring Time Brickey, Kasey Foster, John MacGaffey Diane Mair, Jasmine Richman and Lindsey Noel Whiting
Puppets by Jesse Mooney Bullock and Kass Copeland
Devices by Milam Smith
Music by Jefferey Thomas
Music for Laika’s Return by Kevin O’Donnell
Lighting by David Goodman-Edberg
Costumes by Gillian Gryzlak and Susan Haas
Stage Management by Jamie Kreppein
Understudy Jessica Kearney
Spring Apprentices include Rebecca Husk, Fletcher Wolfe, Connor Konz, Cy Pak, Tirzah Lawson
Reviewer Ann Boland is committed to Chicago theater. Involved in the audience since the early 80’s, she’s witnessed firsthand the rise of our theater scene, our exceptional local talent, and the vigor of each new generation. Ann handles public relations for authors and works on programs to help seniors with neurological movement disorders. Please visit her website for more information.
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