Poisoned apple or pumpkin carriage? See what you get when the Fable Festival casts its spell across the Edgewater neighborhood, bringing performances based on fairy tales to public schools, cafes, bars, and empty commercial spaces. More than 20 artists and production companies appear over the course of five days, starting May 16. Here are the highlights:
Three is the charm in folklore, and three is the number of puppet pieces constituting "The Storefront Show," to be presented where else but in a storefront at 1130 W. Thorndale. New Beast Theatre Works offers Tower in Song, a semi-opera mixing music, puppetry, and toy theater. Shadow-puppet artists Julia Miller and Lizi Breit of Manual Cinema supply The Weight, which follows a young man as he explores his own emotional landscape. And Neo-Futurists founder Greg Allen teams up with performance artist Joe Mazza to contribute Eating Yourself, a puppet show inspired by the stories of a four-year-old named Ingbert (Thu 5/17-Fri 5/18, 7 PM, tickets at the door only).
Critics raved about Hit the Wall, Ike Holter's look at the 1969 Stonewall riots, when it premiered as part of Steppenwolf Theatre's Garage Rep last February. Here he reaches back a few millennia further, combining ancient Greek and modern American mythology to create The Mountaintop Cycle. Vintage Theater Collective performs (Thu 5/17-Fri 5/18, 10 PM, Burke's Public House, 5401 N. Broadway).
The Sweat Girls have been around long enough to know that even frog princes have warts, and they're hilariously blunt about that state of affairs in shows like Sweatily Ever After: Small Tales, a collection of monologues they first staged in 2007 and have revived for this festival. They share a bill with the Lifeline Storytelling Project's Food and Fables (Fri 5/18, 8 PM, Kitchen Sink, 1107 W. Berwyn).
Ten gifted local playwrights—Scott Barsotti, Thomas Bradshaw, Lisa Dillman, Dana Lynn Formby, Sarah Gubbins, Rohina Malik, Mia McCullough, Brett Neveu, Tanya Palmer, and Christopher Pena—offer their interpretations of Little Red Riding Hood in What Big Eyes You Have. Live music follows (Sat 5/19, 8 PM, Waterfront Cafe, Berger Park, 6219 N. Sheridan).
And improv actors, artists, and musicians conjure a show based on suggestions from kids in the audience at iO's Storytown. Sunday's performance offers the additional enchantment of make-your-own gelato sundaes (Sat 5/19, 1 PM, Berger Park, 6205 N. Sheridan, and Sun 5/20, noon, Francesca's Bryn Mawr, 1039 W. Bryn Mawr).