Lorca's works become poetry in motion


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Lorca's works become poetry in motion

Blair Thomas turns to Spaniard for inspiration

October 13, 2008
BY HEDY WEISS Theater Critic/hweiss@suntimes.com

As its title suggests, "Cabaret of Desire" is an adult work. It also is a work that combines poetry, surrealism, music, live performers and the kind of enormously varied and expressive puppetry that those who have followed the work of director-designer-master puppeteer Blair Thomas have come to expect and marvel at over two decades. This is puppet theater of great sophistication, imagination, beauty, wit and emotion, and it helps you understand why one of the most important (and perfumed) writers of 20th century Spain -- Federico Garcia Lorca -- chose to write scripts for the form.

In a program note, Thomas (whose co-director here is the ubiquitous Sean Graney), describes puppet theater as "a bastard form, hybridized and neglected." But on the stage of the Storefront Theatre, where "Cabaret of Desire" opened Saturday night, Thomas demonstrated just how alluring and magical it can be.

Blair Thomas performs in "Cabaret of Desire."

Thomas has pieced together nine short poems, letters and scenarios by Lorca. Some are meditations on what it means to exist and have an identity, Some are fables. The centerpiece of the evening is "Buster Keaton's Stroll," whose story is as strange and deadpan and surprising and whimsical as you might imagine given Keaton's unique screen persona.

With Thomas alternately playing some wacky brass instruments, narrating, and interacting with the puppets (alongside Erica Mott, Sarah Goeden, Dan Kerr-Hobert and Dax Tran-Caffee -- the skilled members of his ensemble), scale and perspective and puppet style shift to create a fantastical dreamscape.

When: Through Nov. 8
Where: Blair Thomas & Company at Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph
Tickets: $19
Phone: (312) 742-8497

Source: http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/weiss/1217172,CST-FTR-Weiss13.article


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