Sunday, December 08, 2013

The Pigeoning

The Pigeoning is 70 minutes of pure delight. This brilliant piece of puppet theatre is the story of Frank, an office worker who cannot function unless everything on his desk is aligned perfectly (I relate). When a pigeon starts tapping on his office window, Frank begins a hilarious descent into paranoia. And, no, hilarious paranoia is not an oxymoron in this cartoon-like yet heartfelt and even touching kaleidoscope of creativity, where a tattered umbrella can simultaneously be funny and menacing, with a bit of social commentary thrown in.

Photo: Richard Termine

Frank is brought to life by a team of black-clad puppeteers who work with the collaborative grace of the best of dancers. Moments when you forget the puppeteers are there and moments when you are mesmerized by them are equally beautiful. Frank's wide-eyed expression somehow manages to be quizzical, annoyed, heartbroken, angry, and amazed in turn. (I could not help but compare his performance to Carrie Underwood's in the TV version of The Sound of Music. She has been criticized by many people as being "wooden," but Frank shows that ostensibly inanimate materials can morph into vivid emotional life in the right hands. Underwood could learn something from him!)

The Pigeoning was created and directed by Robin Frohardt, who also designed the puppets, props, and set with Jesse "Roadkill" Wilson. The show features live music composed and performed by Freddi Price and lighting design by Heather Sparling.  The puppeteers are Daniel Burnam, Lillie Jayne, Nick Lehane, Rowan Magee, and Andy Manjuck. Clearly, puppet theatre takes a village, and this village is populated by amazingly talented people.

The Pigeoning runs at HERE through December 22nd. Do yourself a favor and go.

(second row center, press ticket)


Anonymous said...

thanks for the comparison between Carrie and Frank. I needed a good laugh!!

Wendy Caster said...