A friendship between two of the world's largest creatures?
Animals who befriend one another in a miserable circus setting and
then plot their adventurous escape? The story is unlikely, sure.
But the audience is quickly drawn into the tale of two disgruntled
circus animals and their unpredictable journey in the
Chicago Children's Theatre
The Elephant and The Whale production produced in collaboration
with Frank Maugeri of Redmoon.
The audience is first introduced to a charming gang of circus
folk (complete with the coolest bicycle-operated panoramic
apparatus you've ever seen). Due to their dire financial state, the
family reluctantly parts with their beloved elephant Ella who falls
into the hands of an unscrupulous circus operator (be warned: this
character is a bit intense for little theater-goers).
As Ella plots an escape from her sad new gig, she discovers an
unlikely friend in a landlocked and homesick baby whale. This is
where the story really takes off.
Together, these best buds plan to return the baby whale back to
the sea. Although the journey back home requires the viewer to
suspend their sense of reality (because it is a long trip from
Chicago back to the sea), audience members are treated to a visual
and audio spectacle courtesy of shadow puppets, unique songs and
other clever staging techniques.
The four feature performers certainly earn their pay by
constantly rushing across the stage to crank audio devices, pedal
panoramic painting apparatuses, manipulate shadow puppets, sing
songs and otherwise use their talents to bring visual magic to this
The pace of the show is frenetic and unexpected.
Performances of The Elephant and The Whale run through May 26.
The show is about one hour long. Regular single tickets start at
$26 for children and $36 for adults and are available through www.chicagochildrenstheatre.org
or by calling (872) 222-9555.
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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