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Friday, April 4, 2008

Little's satisfying little world

Grandma Noda's Tigers delights

Posted on Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 8:39 AM

The first time I saw a movie by Japan’s Hayao Miyazaki, I was recovering from surgery. The storyline of his Academy Award winning film Spirited Away was so foreign to me that I wondered if I was having an adverse reaction to my pain meds that made me imagine the whole thing.Since then, I’ve seen many more anime films, and I’ve come to appreciate the differences between Japanese and Western storytelling.All this is just a long-winded way of saying that the delightful found-object puppet play Grandma Noda’s Tigers has that Miyazaki-feel. Things don’t unfold in a Once upon a time/Happily ever after kind of way.Chris Little tells the story using tiny plastic figurines which he moves through a brilliantly constructed little world. Boxes become streetscapes. A fan is the rooftop of a lovely little home. An ash tray becomes the smoking area where tiny workers congregate.At times Little becomes the characters, so the that the world suddenly zooms from pint-size to life-size. It’s almost as mind-bending as the chase scene between the plays main character Hiro and the hungry tigers which is filmed by a camera on Little’s shoe and projected directly onto a screen.The whole production is clever, charming and satisfying, and suitable for the whole family. Grandma Noda’s Tigers runs tonight through Saturday, 9 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, at The BusStop Theatre, 2205 Gottingen Street. Tickets are $20 or $15 for students and seniors.

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