Out of the Pan into the Fire

Dominique Serrand

You can get a feel for how a show has gone by the debris left on stage at the end. What do we have following Out of the Pan into the Fire, the latest from the innovative Moving Company? There are mountains of sand that came out of a water spigot, scattered ice from a book broken out of its frozen bounds, and a pool of blood from when a character had her tongue bitten out. Using, remixing, and reforging elements from numerous fairy tales, the play focuses on an old man, Angelo (Steve Epp), and the last two of his 13 foster children: brainy Elsie (Christina Baldwin), who never wants to venture outside, and impulsive Thirteen (Nathan Keepers), who never thinks, and wants nothing more than to explore the outside world.

Their hardscrabble life is interrupted when Angelo disappears, leaving the two to fend for themselves. They run into a couple of fairy-tale characters, the evil Stumpfmutter (who does the tongue amputation) and the vain prince Roland (both played by Sam Kruger). Really, that description is far too straightforward for what transpires on stage. From a set scaled for young children to Thirteen's beloved potato, the show bursts with ideas that threaten to overwhelm the slight plot. Yet any time it starts to drift too far, something visually, aurally, or physically intriguing happens. The performers — along with director Dominique Serrand — collaborate to craft a vivid tapestry of events and images that are at turns funny, tragic, and frightening. Just like a fairy tale.

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