A lawn chair for a king’s throne, a punk rock princess in a magical kingdom and a fairytale castle in the backyard. They’re all part of a little boy’s daydreams that become reality in Redmoon Theater’s 13th annual Winter Pageant starting Dec. 2.
The Winter Pageant always celebrates the changing of seasons, but this year the story also teaches some important lessons. “It’s a story very much teaching the essence of community and what it means to work together,” says co-director Jim Horner. “It’s about how a community deals with a change in routine, a crisis of sorts.”
The story transforms the daydreams of a little boy playing in a sandbox into a magical kingdom.
“We’ve taken elements of a typical backyard, a fence, a back porch, and superimposed a fairytale castle on top of it,” says co-director Scott Pondrom.
A feared giant, presented through large hand puppets, raises and lowers the sun in the kingdom every day, and the people feed him. When the sun starts not to come up, they discover that the giant is suffering from a lonely heart.
Each week, a different Chicago community group writes and performs the scene of cheering up the giant.
“There’s major community involved in the performing and building of the show,” says Pondrom.
Five community groups are involved in workshops, building parts of the scenes, props and performing. These include Dramagirls, a group of middle-schoolers from Redmoon’s neighborhood arts program, parents and students from Blaine, Audubon and Brentano elementary schools, as well as families and senior citizens from the Logan Square Neighborhood Association.
The show is great for both adults and children, says Horner, and it delivers a good kid message. The story about the giant is not only about looking at other people’s perspectives, he says, but also about fear.
“Things aren’t as scary as you think if you take a minute to understand them instead of just being afraid,” says Horner.
As always with Redmoon productions, the pageant is a great visual spectacle, with lots of colors, ongoing puppet shows and the daunting shadow of the giant. It also gets the audience involved.
“At the end of the show, we get the entire audience and townsfolk together to raise the sun,” says Pondrom.
“It’s going to be entertaining for everyone,” says Horner. “We’re aiming for kinda’ bringing out the kid in everyone, bringing out the sense of play.”
The Winter Pageant runs Dec. 2 to Jan. 2 at the Redmoon Theater, 1463 W. Hubbard St., Chicago.
Shows are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 5 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 and 5 p.m. Sundays. Ticket prices range from $10 to $15. For information, call (312) 850-8440, ext. 111, or visit www.redmoon.org.
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