Once Upon a Time (or the Secret Language of Birds) | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Once Upon a Time (or the Secret Language of Birds)

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Redmoon thinks small in Frank Maugeri's toy-theater show: tiny cardboard cutouts "perform" on cunning cardboard sets. The videotaped and projected action has immense visual impact, but the look is familiar; Terry Gilliam was doing much the same decades ago. And Joe Meno's story, about a little girl who rescues a city's stolen birds, is simplistic and meandering, full of missed opportunities--especially when it comes to the girl's mother, potentially the most interesting character. As Pan's Labyrinth shows, fairy tales work best when they acknowledge the awful. Though this piece's microcosmic scale calls to mind some of the installations in Redmoon's 2005 interactive show, From Nothing, the narrative's too closed to inspire the imagination--ironic in an effort supposedly celebrating dreams. --Laura Molzahn a Through 4/8: Thu-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat-Sun 3 and 7:30 PM, Redmoon Central, 1463 W. Hubbard, 312-850-8440, ext. 111, $15-$30.

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