Two Chicago theater icons—Blair Thomas and singer-songwriter Michael Smith collaborate on this staging of an Oscar Wilde classic. Running time 45 minutes. Original puppets and music tell the story of a grumpy old giant who forbids the children in his village from playing in his beautiful garden. After the children are locked out, the trees and flowers refuse to grow and the garden plunges into an eternal winter. Then one morning, the children sneak back into the garden, bringing with them the joyous rebirth of spring.
January 23rd-February 22nd, The Ruth Page Center For Performing Arts with Chicago Children’s Theatre.
“Chicago Children’s Theatre has scored another coup by getting two local theater icons—Blair Thomas, perhaps best known for the breathtaking large-scale puppetry he creates for Redmoon Theater, and singer-songwriter Michael Smith—to collaborate on a staging of this Oscar Wilde classic for the opening of its new season.
Blair’s magnificent puppetry breathes some fresh air into the well-known tale of a giant whose refusal to allow children to play in his garden results in an eternal winter. His craftsmanship and ability to manipulate his creations allow the large-scale giant to convey emotion. Even the smaller marionette children, birds and bees appear full of life when the children sneak back into the garden and bring spring along with them. And Smith’s ability to render the entire play in song adds a folksy, fun sensibility to the story that is appreciated as much—perhaps even more—by the grown-ups in the audience.
The intimate, casual atmosphere in the Field Museum’s Levin Exhibition Gallery makes this an easy play to take even the smallest children. Tickets to the show include complimentary admission to the Field Museum, a great excuse to allow the kids to explore the stories of some other giants (like T. rex Sue) and visit the new Crown Family Play Lab—geared to roughly the same age group (two to six) as the play’s target audience.”
Original Listing in TimeOut Chicago, February 13, 2008
Review by Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune, February 5, 2008
The Selfish Giant was commissioned by the Chicago Children’s Theater and the world premiere was presented by the Chicago Children’s Theater in January 2008.