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Stages, Sights & Sounds Blog

It's a hat . . . It's a snail . . . It's Animales!

Animales is a dynamic, wordless show that captivates children. To the delight of young audience members, master puppeteer Pablo Vergne playfully guides everyday objects into surprising shapes on stage. Even adults in the audience will experience child-like wonder as objects such as hats and foam tubes charmingly transform into animals, letters, and more.

A gloved hand under a colorful hat resembles a snail
Photo by Eva Soriano

No need to worry if younger children cannot stay quiet for the duration of the show. Their shouts of recognition are encouraged, and they will be surrounded by others who are also naming the animals and letters that take shape on stage. 

Watch an otherwise unremarkable tube morph into a laughing mouth, the letters of the alphabet, and various animals in the video clip below. (Turn on the sound to hear the children’s accompanying commentary.)

We're presenting Animales at the Chicago Cultural Center Dance Studio, a versatile black box performance space with seating for 75 on three sides. This ensures that even the smallest audience members will be able to see the action.

A gloved hand holds two orange balls next to a pink water bottle
Photo by Eva Soriano

While it hails from Spain, Animales has mesmerized audiences in Israel, Croatia, India, Argentina, China, Singapore, and Ireland with its artistry and sense of fun. It has also garnered numerous awards at children’s and puppet festivals around the world. 

Join us for Animales where you can glimpse the world through a child’s imaginative eyes in which every object has the potential to come alive, May 6-11 at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Fun Fact: Both Chicago Humanities Festival and El Retablo, Pablo Vergne’s theater company, are celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2014.

Learner's Guide
Resources and activities for use at school or home

  • In Animales, master puppeteer Pablo Vergne transforms everyday objects—knit gloves, hats, a ruler—into animals and magical beings. Follow this activity to help your kids create animal puppets of their own with the things already around them!
  • Watch this video clip of legendary puppeteer Jim Henson creating masterfully simple puppets out of everyday objects. 
  • Check out a video and interview with puppeteer Hobey Ford about his animal puppets with this resource from the Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge.


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