Have you ever heard the love story about an
elephant and a whale? You aren't alone if this story is new to
Chicago Children's Theatre will conclude its seventh season
with a world premiere collaboration with Redmoon Theater's Frank
Maugeri to present "
The Elephant and The Whale." This unique family fable
features sea voyages, wild mechanical objects, circus songs,
panoramic paintings and shadow puppets.
The story of friendship conquering all obstacles is set in
1919, the end of an era for Ella the beloved circus elephant. When
a nefarious new owner takes over the management of the show, Ella
discovers an unexpected new animal in the circus: a landlocked and
homesick baby whale. What happens next is a unique story of
friendship and adventure spanning species, rivers, railroads and
"I believe that the story itself is simple and lyrical and
comical in a way that will be very satisfying to younger
children," Director Frank Maugeri says. "But the
images, the toy theater and the shadow segment, are particularly
more mature. A storm at sea, a rancid villain, the imprisonment of
the whale-all of the these images are quite sophisticated and
compelling. We think older kids will be drawn to those characters
The show features four performers who crank audio devices,
pedal panoramic painting apparatuses and manipulate shadow
sequences while they sing songs to weave the tale of The Elephant
and the Whale.
"Audiences can expect three very specific types of
puppetry in the show: cantastoria (moving scrolls of images), toy
theater (small 2-D puppets) and shadow puppetry. Additionally, the
four performers serve as clowns `telling' the story both in song
and relationship," Maugeri says.
Caitlin Murray Giles is a full-time mother of three and part-time freelance writer living in Wicker Park.
See more of Caitlin's stories here.
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