“The Elephant & the Whale” is making a splash at the Ruth Page Center for Performing Arts.
The family-friendly performance is produced by the Chicago Children’s Theatre in association with Redmoon Theater. Created by Frank Maugeri, whose past credits include co-creating “The Astronaut’s Birthday” at the MCA, “The Elephant and the Whale” is an innovative, multimedia production that mixes song, dance, physical comedy, shadow puppetry and video. The original story, written by Seth Bockley (who is currently the Artist in Residence at the Goodman Theatre) is co-directed by Maugeri and Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, the former resident director of “500 Clown.”
The play tells the story of Ella the Elephant, a former circus star who is now relegated to “sideshow status” by Quigley, the greedy and selfish circus owner. The whale is also part of the circus sideshow, having been plucked from the ocean and taken away from his family by the evil Quigley. Together, Ella and the whale discover the importance of friendship and the belief that if they stick together they can overcome anything (even Quigley).
The multi-talented, 4-person ensemble includes Kurt Brocker, Kasey Foster, David Caitlin and Becky Poole, who adeptly mix mediums to weave together this tale. Brocker is particularly delightful as Quigley, the guy we love to hate. But really, it’s the teamwork of the entire cast that makes this production so rich.
“The Elephant and the Whale” is recommended for audiences of all ages, and I was pleasantly surprised to see both toddlers and elementary aged kids laughing and enjoying themselves throughout the show. The show runs 60 minutes with no intermission.
“The Elephant and the Whale” runs through May 26 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 North Dearborn St., Chicago. Purchase tickets online or by calling the box office at 872-222-9555. Be sure to ask about their Thursday night pizza parties, Friday night craft parties and their May 4th “autism-friendly” performance for families with kids on the Autism spectrum.