published Friday, October 14th, 2011

Imago Theatre's 'ZooZoo' will be animalistic fun


What: "ZooZoo" by Imago Theatre.

When: 7:30 p.m. today.

Where: Roland W. Hayes Concert Hall, UTC Fine Arts Center, corner of Vine and Palmetto streets.

Admission: $22 adults, $19 seniors, $15 students.

Phone: 425-4269.


And now for something completely different.

"ZooZoo," a production by the Imago Theatre that one of its founders described as a combination of "going to the circus, the zoo and another planet all at once," will be offered at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Fine Arts Center today as part of the 2011-2012 Patten Performances series.

The appearance will mark the third at the venue for the Portland, Ore.-based theater.

"It's an evening of a variety of pieces," said co-founder Jerry Mouawad. "Each piece is a different universe [combining] humor and the personification of animals."

Sprinkled throughout the pieces, he said, are the animation of animals and illusions, where "you think you see one thing but your eyes believe another thing."

Through each individual piece, Mouawad said, "we see glimpses of ourselves -- incidents and events common to most everyone on the planet."

The show, he said, includes the best of two other Imago Theatre tours, "Frogz" and "Biglittlethings."

So, Mouawad said, even if Chattanoogans have seen one of the other tours, they're likely to see a lot of pieces they've never seen before.

"ZooZoo," is a "very visual show," he said, adding that there is no dialogue. Lighting and special effects are used to best advantage, he said, and the production is backed by an original music score.

The audience, for instance, might see comedic amphibians, acrobatic larvae, circus boulders and metamorphosing humans.

"We take a simple mask and [produce] what can be very magical in a simple way," Mouawad said.

"It's a lot of the unexpected," he said. "You don't expect characters to come off the stage, [for instance]. If you haven't seen it, it's going to be a fresh and new and different kind of experience."

It might be likened, Mouawad said, to silent-film stars combined with the best that Pixar and Disney have to offer.

"It's been extremely appealing for audiences for two decades," he said.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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