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The Sacred and the Profane: The Non-Human Speaks in the International Puppet Theater Festival | Newcity Stage
By Sharon Hoyer They're coming: backlit paper cutouts, dolls sculpted of foam and wire, shape-shifting scenes of sand, wood-carved likenesses of old men and whimsical figures on strings, all descending on Chicago from around the globe to relate stories of pathos, bathos, absurdist comedy, horrifying injustice and transcendent beauty—our most human dramas given profound life by lights, a curtain and humble bits of cloth or string. The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, running January 17-27 across the city, is the only one of its kind in the United States, and Chicago—originally home to the Works Projects Administration's series of puppetry and marionette plays and progenitor of the term "puppeteer"—is perhaps its natural home. It's also the creative playground of Blair Thomas, founder of the festival, one of the masterminds behind the now-defunct Redmoon Theater and a consummate artist who has been playfully poking holes in the boundaries of theater in Chicago for the last