SUNDAY: Sorcery and Biodiversity

TheaterThe Sorcerer's ApprenticeThree strikes and you're out. Lost in an enchanted forest, young Charles is taken under the wing of Miss Marguerite, a powerful sorceress conversant in animal, vegetable, and mineral. But when Charles disobeys her orders and uses "the craft"—in the process nearly inundating her workshop—he's given his walking papers. In an effort to regain her trust and take back the coveted position as apprentice sorcerer, he must battle with demons, a giant, and the evil Big John King. On his side are a trio of pontificating plants and a wily groundhog with a special penchant for blueberry tarts. For this story, author OyamO has borrowed from far-ranging sources, from Lucian Samosata (a Greek satirist from AD 150) to Goethe and Disney. It magically comes together in a production that emphasizes harmony with nature and the ways in which what comes around goes around. Sets, especially those depicting Miss Marguerite's enchanted grounds, provide lots of hidden interest—from bebopping vegetation to all-seeing trees. Even the stars take flight. A four-piece live band accompanies the magic and madness with New Orleans–style swing and jazz that will have the young and not-so-young grooving in their seats. Seattle Children's Theatre, Seattle Center, 441-3322, www.sct.org. $16–$32. 7 p.m. Fri., 2 and 5:30 p.m. Sat.–Sun. Ends Jan. 27. SUZANNE BEALVisual ArtsEugene ParnellDon't be alarmed if you find yourself being stared down by a strangely quiet bestiary of dead animals while sipping your espresso at Zeitgeist this month. This atypical cafe decor is the work of local artist Eugene Parnell, whose wall installation, "Yield," works on various levels. Each hapless rabbit, squirrel, and fish weighs a certain amount literally—as measured by the individual scales they are placed on—and in societal value. Parnell is asking us to reconsider these animals and our use of them. Or as he puts it, the exhibit "consists of a rhythmic assemblage of vintage taxidermy specimens liberated from Midwestern antique malls, each of which is perched upon a vintage kitchen scale. The work poses questions about the value of the animals as individual beings, as representatives of biodiversity, as agricultural or trade products, as avatars of an idealized natural world. It's also part of my love affair with the least-beloved flotsam and jetsam of mid–20th century life: the contents of kitchens and basement rec rooms." (Aha! The artist's true motivation revealed!) The second half of the exhibit is a museum-scale diorama called Life in the Seas, Part I: The Cambrian (pictured), in which Parnell, inspired by the writings of evolutionary naturalists like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, attempts to re-create ancient sea creatures based solely on their written descriptions—with amusingly inaccurate results. Yet, as Rimbaud once declared, who's to say that the child who dreams of a creature with five wings is wrong and the stuffy naturalist is right? It's a liberating conceit, and Parnell runs with it. Zeitgeist, 171 S. Jackson St., 583-0497, zeitgeistcoffee.com. 6 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–7 p.m. Sat.–Sun. Ends Jan. 3. SUE PETERS

 
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