The World Is Flat! A Weekend of Toy Theater Brief Run (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries) Critic's Choice Member Picks Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Feb. 25-28 2010

When I think back on Stuart Sherman's Chicago performances I realize I've retained almost none of the details--just the image of a man standing behind a folding TV table, playing out arcane dramas with little novelties of the sort you might pick out of a bin at a variety store. What remains vivid is the feeling of fascination. Sherman's toy theater events--which he called "spectacles"--had a mesmeric quality, at once comic, mysterious, and delightful. He died in 2001, but the genre seems to be in resurgence--perhaps because its homemade, no-tech, idiosyncratic aesthetic appeals to people who find themselves breathing tweets. Links Hall is presenting a small festival of the stuff this weekend, curated by local writer/director/performer Seth Bockley. New York's Great Small Works will put things in perspective with A Short Entertaining History of Toy Theater, which features an orchestra of toy instruments. They'll also perform A Walk in the City, inspired by the writings of Italo Calvino. Local puppetry masters Michael Montenegro and Blair Thomas will each offer a work, as will relative newcomers Chantal Calato (whose puppets can be seen in the Building Stage production of The Ring Cycle) and Meredith Miller. --Tony Adler

Price: $12-$20

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