Blue Nativity | various locations | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Blue Nativity Free The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 1 2015

The birth of a star can be violent and beautiful, and Quest Theatre Ensemble's annual 30-minute nativity play, now in its 13th year, offers a lot of beauty. Dazzling crescent-headed puppets loom ten feet tall on stilts; dressed in flowing robes decorated with tinsel and masses of tattered rags, they form a surreal procession of striking grace. They have gorgeous voices too—supplied by a concealed choir that sings uplifting renditions of traditional hymns and carols interspersed with original contemporary-Christian pop spirituals that are less so. With the calm narration by Jomar Ferraras, it can seem as if we're watching alien moon people act out biblical stories in outer space; Christ is a lightbulb in a manger. But recasting the nativity story as a reverential celestial drama has its drawbacks: when Mary and Joseph beg for shelter in the stable, their bobbing puppet heads and crazily waving hands make them look more like gregarious dinner guests than weary travelers in distress. —Jena Cutie

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