We all went through it as kids. Everything was so unfair: the constraints, the responsibilities, the boredom. Then one day we opened a door in our house and there it was a perfect existence, where all was right and anything was possible. You think we're kidding? Not really. We all found that place, only to slowly realize it was the adult world, where we had to stand up for ourselves and determine our role. In Coraline, we see this lesson writ literal with a whole lot of weird sights and sounds backing it up. The title character is a young girl who enters what she thinks is an ideal replica of her own world. The set of her real life has an Edward Gorey feel to it black and gray, cloudy and macabre whereas in her other life, everyone wears bright colors and is illuminated with black light. The stage production of Coraline (which has also been novel, graphic novel, and motion picture) contains songs and scoring by Stephin Merritt, whose work can be irresistible and insufferable at the same time as we're sure he intends it. Among the instruments used is a prepared piano, so named because its internal workings are gunked up with the likes of playing cards, sleigh bells, and nuts and bolts. A cast of puppets that play ghost children and dogs completes Coraline's bizarre trip into her fantasy world and ultimately into herself.
Tuesdays-Saturdays; Tuesdays-Saturdays; Sun., Dec. 26; Dec. 28-31; Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Nov. 16. Continues through Jan. 15, 2010