Sunday, December 10, 2023

ZooZoo—Imago Theatre—SE Portland


“A World of Pure Imagination”

        This award-winning, delightful show for the whole family is conceived, designed   directed and produced by Jerry Mouawad and Carol Triffle, with original music by Katie Griesar.  It plays through January1st, 2024at Imago’s space, 17 SE 8th Ave. (off E. Burnside).  Parking can be an issue, so plan your time accordingly.  Recommended for ages 4 and up.  For more information, contact them at or call 503-231-9581.

    Most of us live in the world of Reality (sketchy as it is right now).  But Artists visit the world of Reality only as a tourist.  We have a strong relationship with the world of Imagination, and are willing to share it, as needed, to give Mankind a boost (which is very much in demand right now, I believe).  And Imago is at the top of the list, in my opinion, for creating such an atmosphere, as in this extraordinary production of this magical show, ZooZoo!

    A warning, though, some patrons have been licked by anteaters, sat on by penguins and jostled by polar bears in these productions, so if this offends you, might choose to stay away, or get your mind-set readjusted.  The play is wordless from beginning to end and set on an essentially bare stage.  But the actors, music, lighting, costumes, and sounds, plus your own imagination will transport you to lands of wonder.

    Yes, you will meet products of the animal world:  zebras, polar bears, anteaters, cats, penguins, frogs and hippos…all displaying/portraying various attitudes, some almost human-like.  But you will also be introduced to an alternate universe in habited by bugeyes, a paper bag (plus animal inside), larvabatics, windbags and paper…all needing to express themselves. And, amazingly, they do get their point across.  This is perhaps a evolutionary/revolutionary/revealing/cautionary tale for us mere mortals to drink in, swill around in our gullets and be transported to that world of pure imagination in which one may release their inner child!

    And what is most amazing is that all these creatures are enacted, danced with athletic abandoned by just 5 actors:  Mark Mullaney, Kaician Kitko, Laura Loy, Isaac Ellingson, and John Mikhail Duggan—all brilliant!  The creature designs/costumes by Triffle& Mouawad is beyond words in their presentation, a work of art unto itself.  And Griesar’s music/sound runs the garment of genres, all perfectly in sync with the action.  And the lightning by Mouawad, plus Jeff Forbes and Chris Balo, creates the tangible atmosphere in which they play.  All in all, Mouawad &Triffle have created a masterpiece in which one can wile away a couple of hours in the soothing cacophony of endless possibilities!

    A final note, the performance I witness had about 50% of its audience being young children and they were totally captive by this magical world with its odd creatures, voicing their pleasure at every turn and embracing the creatures as if they were old friends.  And what was even more remarkable, I noticed the adults/parents of these young minds, being caught up, too, in the wonders of those moments, because they saw, just for a few moments, what it was like to be an innocent again and what a mind-freeing experience that is!

    I very highly recommend this production for All age, If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.


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