Ok, I wasn’t prepared for the actuality of “Tall Girl and the Lightning Parade”. The audience gathered at The Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts on the University of Chicago campus. While I knew the performance would be outdoors, I thought it would be on one of the patios around Logan Center. I didn’t know the audience would have to walk the several blocks from Logan Center into scenic Washington Park – as part of a parade led by costumed stilt-walkers! If I’d realized, I would have brought a chair and my bug spray.
Once in the park, the cast interacted with the kids in the audience. Some of them led an informal limbo dance – and limbo dancing on stilts is a real hoot! Of course, they did lower the bar for the small fry. They also distributed bubbles to some of the kids, while others got to try waving parade flags.
Once the cart carrying all the props (masks, oversized footprints, clouds, water, etc.) and a karaoke box cart got to the site, the performance started. Off to one side, there were a couple of musicians and three narrator/singers who used narrative, music, song and dance to tell the story of “Tall Girl”, which is based on a Mayan legend, in English and Spanish.
The Sun (Alex Rodriguez) and the Moon (Meghan Lewis), who were both tall people, had a daughter, Tall Girl (Lucia Mier y Terán Romero), who grew taller than everyone. Since Father Sun and Mother Moon didn’t approve of any young men who might be interested in Tall Girl, she spent her time weaving and cooking for her parents. One day, Tall Girl met and fell in love with the very short Hummingbird Boy (Micah Figueroa). Whenever she was alone (basically when Mother Moon’s path interested with that of Father Sun), she ran to meet Hummingbird Boy.
When her parents found out, they blasted him out of the sky and locked her up. True love cannot be kept apart so eventually, Tall Girl broke out and ran away with Hummingbird Boy. They called on all the stars and planets (who were afraid of an angry Sun) to help find the escapees. Q’iq, who wasn’t afraid of Sun or Moon, saw no reason to help. Will they escape? You’ll have to see the performance to find out!
The rest of the “Tall Girl” cast includes Sam Allyn, Jordan Arredando, Claire Bauman, Nigel Brown, Ellen DeSitter, David Dowd, McCambridge Dowd-Whipple, Isaac Fosi-van Wyke, Kellyn Jackson, Kevin Jandrists, Arthur Lockhart Angela Luem, Anjelica Masson, Dana Murphy, Sarah Nelson, Kelly Nesheim, Emily Robinson, Aerica Siegal and Stephanie Vondell.
Walkabout Theater Company developed “Tall Girl and the Lightning Parade” while in residence at Chicago Performance Lab, Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago, with special funding from the Cliff Dwellers Club in Chicago. “Tall Girl” was conceived and directed by Walkabout Co-Artistic Director, Thom Pasculli. Isaac Fosi-van Wyke and Enid Munoz co-adapted the story.
Walkabout Theater Company’s “Tall Girl and the Lightning Parade” will have four more performances: August 23rd and 24th at Walsh Playground Park, 1722 N. Ashland Ave. (with a parade on the 606); August 26th and 27th at La Villita Park, 2800 S. Sacramento Blvd. All performances which begin at 7:00 pm, run roughly 75 minutes (excluding parade). Tickets are free, no reservation required. FYI www.walkabouttheater.org/tall-girl.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click on “Tall Girl and the Lightning Parade”.