Puppetry is an enchanting art form that's truly prismatic, diverse, and able to tap into our human longings, emotions, and need for connection in ways that other manners of expression can't always achieve.
Puppets also run the glorious gamut, and what our definition is can differ from the first thing that pops into the minds of others. The avatar-like creations can be marionettes, yes, or they can sit over a person's hand, or as tiny as tiny can be, or they can maneuver about on wires or stilts, filling a room or dominating a delighted crowd.
And puppets seen through the ethereal play of light through a screen? It's a very ancient and moving art form, one that especially suits a wondrous old tale that is considered to be "...one of the most important literary works of Iran, written over 1,000 years ago by the poet Ferdowsi."
What to do, where to go and what to see
That work is "Shahnameh: The Epic of Persian Kings," and audiences who call upon The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills from Friday, Oct. 20 through Sunday, Oct. 29 will be able to see a "cinematic shadow play," the third part of that epic, in "Feathers of Fire: A Persian Epic."
"Feathers of Fire" has already flown to points around New York, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Southern California, too, at UCLA's Freud Playhouse. Hamid Rahmanian, an artist who won a Guggenheim fellowship, is the work's creator.
As for those story-conveying puppets? A "cinema-size screen" will be erected on The Wallis stage, and, behind it, performers will don masks, and costumes, and employ digital animation, and other fantasy-enhancing tools, to bring the 10th-century characters and adventure to life.
Tickets? Find yours here.
Bringing children along for this awesome show of story, of innovative puppetry, of a fabled Persian epic, and a night of whimsical theater? Absolutely: "Feathers of Fire" is suitable for kids ages 5 and over.