Who’s Hungry – Santa Monica, part of an ongoing series of experimental tabletop puppet plays intended to give a voice and face to hunger, will be performed at 8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Jan. 27 through Feb. 4 at Highways Performance Space, 1651 18th St., Santa Monica.
The plays are produced and written by Dan Froot and designed and directed by Dan Hurlin, with music by Amy Denio.
The performances aim to raise awareness of the lives of those, who on a daily basis, must choose between life’s basic necessities – food or rent, food or medicine, food or bus fare.
The production covers the stories of five homeless and/or hungry residents of Santa Monica, incorporating puppetry, dance, music and text.
“This project is about people’s lives – people who, at times, happen to go without food,” said Froot. “They have some truly beautiful, moving and hilarious stories that might otherwise go untold.”
The 90-minute puppet theater adaptation tells the oral histories of five very different homeless and hungry Santa Monicans, through five 15- to 20-minute segments. The project incorporates a range of puppetry styles in order to give each of the five stories its own aesthetic treatment, a production spokesperson said.
The plays are presented on a specially built 24-foot dinner table, and the audience views the action from one side, as if they are banquet guests. Incorporated into the performances are Delft china, Matchbox cars, televisions, rod puppets, as well as puppets inspired by Japanese Bunraku, and more.
The production will feature four puppeteers and three musicians. The cast includes Zachary Tolchinsky, Rachael Lincoln, Sheetal Gandhi and Darius Mannino.
Original scores have been commissioned from Denio, an award winning Seattle-based composer and multi-instrumentalist, to be performed live.
“This form of puppet theater creates a very close, communal experience since the audience must sit together, near the action, in order to see these small objects,” says Froot. “It also puts the audience in an empathic role, more so than live theater with human actors – when we watch object theater, we must engage and project ourselves onto the puppets and objects with an active imagination.”
General admission tickets are $20, or $15 for students and seniors.
Information, (310) 315-1459, or http://highwaysperformance.org.