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The Best in Modern Dance: Wonderboy Comes South!

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Returning to the Irvine Barclay Theater for another of its quasi-regular appearances there, the Joe Goode Performance Groupwill present the southern California premiere of Wonderboy this Friday for one show only!Known and highly acclaimed for his integration of movement, visual imagery and the spoken word, Goode’s 20+ year old company will perform this newly-created work, an intimate story of an unlikely superhero. Realized through inspired movement and the enchantment of puppetry, award winning puppet designer Basil Twist and Goode create a magical piece of innovative storytelling infused with wit, humor and pathos. In the general style of Broadway’s Avenue Q and a modern version of the Japanese bunraku puppet form (puppet operators are not only visible to the audience, but play characters of their own), reviews of the show’s premiere in San Francisco highlight the overall empathetic humanness of the production. The program also includes excerpts from Goode’s 1996 work Maverick Strain, a work inspired by Arthur Miller's screenplay, The Misfits.

The last time Goode was here, the choreographer explored modern dancers singing and live and prepared video imagery in 1998’s Deeply There (stories of a neighborhood). This exposition of the havoc wrought by the AIDS crisis in San Francisco's Castro District demonstrated Goode’s skill at weaving the elements of theater—text, music, dancing and imagery—into a compelling whole.

Both collaborators have been individually recognized with awards ranging from Guggenheim Fellowships to NY’s Bessie Awards to national and state commendations, among many other citations. Their collective history also goes back years

Now, you may be thinking that puppets implies a Pinocchio-like story with family-friendly characters, events and even a song and dance, but this is no Disney production. In fact, promotional materials state that this Wonderboy is NOT suitable for children. Still, given these artists’ experience, it’ll probably be just right for any adult.

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Get out of work early and head down the 405 to savor the experience!

top photo of Joe Goode Performance Group by R. J. Muna