Though it forms the elemental core of religious Christmas celebrations, the Nativity story (recounting the birth of Jesus) is seldom thought of as a tale with contemporary elements. By looking past the historical backdrop, however, the cultural resonance of the story is unmistakable. Depicting the hardships of Mary and Joseph as they searched Bethlehem for safe shelter, only to be turned away from each dwelling save a humble manger, the Nativity story can be seen as the tale of two immigrants seeking compassion in a strange and often hostile land. Recognizing the relevancy of such material in their immigrant-heavy neighborhood, the multidisciplinary artists of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre have crafted a much-loved annual tradition with their reenactment of the Nativity story, La Natividad. Inspired by Las Posadas, the Mexican procession commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph, La Natividad begins at In the Heart of the Beast's Avalon Theater, moves to four locations along a two-and-a-half block route, and concludes at St. Paul's Lutheran Church. Along the way, participants are immersed in a bilingual performance (English and Spanish) in which the cast interacts with In the Heart of the Beast's acclaimed puppetry. Serenaded by a choir along the way, audiences are likely to experience a sense of Yuletide euphoria as they partake in the food and music that conclude each performance. (Photo by Bruce Silcox)
Thursdays-Sundays, 6:30 p.m. Starts: Dec. 13. Continues through Dec. 22, 2012
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