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Theatre Tue Apr 27 2010

Lookingglass Theatre's Hephaestus

hephaestusdress-001285.normal.jpg

Photo courtesy of Lookingglass Theatre

Created by (and starring) Chicago circus performer, Tony Hernandez, Lookingglass Theatre's re-imagination of Hephaestus is a magical Cirque du Soleil-type adventure at the Goodman Theater. Although the show is centered around the stunts performed by many famed circus performers like The Flying Wallendas, a strong narrative provides the vehicle by which the stunts are performed. Hephaestus is the Greek myth about the crippled son of Zeus and Hera. Disgusted by his appearance, his mother hurled him from Mount Olympus when he was a baby. Hephaestus became a master blacksmith and is the god of craftsmen and metals.

The performance opens with a small, empty bed on stage. It belongs to a little girl whose parents are fighting off stage. The little girl climbs into bed with her teddy bear and begins to read the story of Hephaestus. She is played by Tatiana Ranallo, whose beautiful singing voice aids in the storytelling.

The beautiful fairy-like women that nurse Hephaestus back to health, dangle and dance from the ceiling in their silks piece. The tiny bubbles that float in the air and the women that appear to swim above the audience's heads produce a fantastic underwater sensation that leaves every audience member with their mouth open.

The talk of the show is the amazing record setting 8-person high wire pyramid but the most adrenaline-pumping portion belongs to The Anastasini Brothers. 18 year-old Guiliano flips his 10 year-old brother Fabio with his feet over and over again, landing a more difficult finish every time. The brothers belong to the ninth generation of circus performers and their moment in Hephaestus is both breathtaking and heart-stopping.

Hephaestus also had a sold-out run in 2005 and it is no wonder it's back again. The performances incorporate tons of props like the German wheel, tightropes, bungees, hoops and are they are all elegant, enthralling and sometimes even nerve-wracking for the audience. The non-stop excitement and beauty this show provides is a treasure.

 
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Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

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