Incredible! Amazingly hysterical!- These are words that best describe Chicago Shakespeare’s latest “World’s Stage ” production, “The Table” upstairs at Navy Pier.What you will witness is true Performance Art, as this troupe, Blind Summit brings their puppet, Moses to Chicago as part of its first United States Tour. But, this is not what one might expect in viewing a “puppet” show- oh no, not by a long shot. The three puppeteers, Mark Down ( who speaks for the puppet,Moses),Sean Garratt and Irena Stratieva are in full sight throughout the 70 plus minutes of sheer laughter
The bare stage has on it only a table, yes a table with four legs and a table top. Sounds pretty simple, but with the puppetry and the improvised story that these people bring to “The Table”, we, minutes into the show start to see Moses as more than a puppet with a cardboard head ( he tells us that he comes from a long line of boxes), but rather a lovable character who is telling us his story of the Jewish holiday known as Passover and the Seder dinner, which by the way is what The Last Supper was. What they explore is the Exodus itself and the importance of God versus Moses in history ( the Torah and the five books of the old testament- the books of Moses).
But the story itself is not what this evening is all about. It is about being able to leave all your troubles in the parking lot at Navy Pier and just having fun. This I can guarantee you- you will laugh and you will forget all the problems of the day ( even the drive to get to the Pier). To make this experience even more of an experience, much of he show is not scripted and so, depending on the whim of the speaker, Mark Down the story can be altered. On opening night, they brought a volunteer from the audience onstage to assist and somehow, the puppet lost his hand. The puppeteers proceeded to make this part of the show and chased Moses around the table to do onstage surgery and re-attach the hand. I am sure this is not a regular part of the show, but they never missed a beat despite Sean breaking up a bit ( but after all, he is not a character, only a puppeteer) this was comedy at its finest.
The three puppeteers are amazingly quick as they move in tandem, each assigned to parts of the cardboard puppet,Moses; Mark handles the vocals, the head and the left arm – Sean the right arm and Irena is the feet. We don’t see much of her, but she is always on her toes when it comes to quick changes ( which Mark just makes). I found myself thinking of the puppet as real, just minutes into the show as he shows off his “table” and makes us see things that are not really there. he has a definite personality which is in reality due to the perfection of the three people who make this show the treat that it is. It is only here for a short time, so I suggest you put this on your TO DO list. Perhaps see this and the mainstage show “Cyrano” and have dinner at one of the fine dining spots at Navy Pier.
“The Table” will continue through the 27th with performances as follows:
Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
Thursdays at 8 p.m.
Fridays at 8 p.m.
Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m.
Sundays at 3 p.m.
Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the box office, by calling 312-595-5600 or online at www.chicagoshakes.com
$20 tickets available for those under 35 years of age ( I would expect even though it is a puppet show, that you not bring kids under 8
Discount parking is available. Bring your parking stub to the box office for validation.
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “The Table”