animal shows

Farewell, my lovely: ZooZoo’s splendid final stand

Imago's sublime dancing and miming critters are in the midst of their final run in Portland. Catch them before they disappear

Good night fireflies, blinking your eyes.

Good night anteaters, goodnight bears, 

Good night penguins sitting in chairs, 

Good night windbags, wheezing away, 

Good night frogs, good night cats, (one in a bag)

Good night hippos, having spats,

Good night larva, upside down,

Good night paper, crumpled on the ground,

Which, with a halfhearted apology to Margaret Wise Brown, is all by way of saying that ZooZoo, Imago’s “animal show,” as my grandson calls it, will be put to bed for good in 2016.  If you live in Portland, you’d best make haste to see it. The show goes on tour after the current run at Imago’s East Side Portland home theater closes on January 3, and the company’s masked theatre productions, after that, will not be seen again, anywhere.

Polar bears ...

Polar bears …

ZooZoo has been hitting the road under several titles, and with a number of interchangeable casts of the critters and objects listed above, since it started with a single frog in 1979, conceived and fabricated in a student apartment in Eugene by Imago founders and directors Jerry Mouawad and Carol Triffle. I’ve been writing about it (and other Imago masked theatre productions) for the past thirty-plus years, for a number of national and local publications.  Last year I covered it extensively for this one, only it was called Frogz a separate but intimately linked show, which contained many of the characters above as well as sloths, alligators, string and the like.

I took my grandchildren – a seven-year-old boy, who has now seen it three times, and a three-year-old girl, who was watching it for the first time – to ZooZoo‘s noon matinee on Saturday.  I wondered, since their parents had other things to do, how I would manage to watch the show, take notes on what I was seeing, and keep an eye on the kids, all at once. I needn’t have worried. From the moment the show began, with a little preview of La Belle, a multi-media, multi-layered extravaganza that will open in December of next year, the kids were transfixed by the transformations taking place on stage.


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