Bloody Henry

The horror of fecundity is the lens through which local puppet impresario Brian Kooser portrays Henry VIII’s lewd, shrewd life of procreation and war, gluttony and iconoclastic politics. The pressure to produce a male heir underlies much of the humor and gore of the piece, which is a delight for lovers of history, two- and three- dimensional animation, and multimedia guerrilla storytelling (and who don’t mind being pelted with bloody dead baby dolls from time to time). About 60 puppets, including hand, rod, shadow, and gorgeously detailed paper mache Bunraku types, inhabit a stage of parapets, state chambers, balconies, an elaborate Westminster Abbey, and a boudoir that doubles as a video screen. As Henry burns through wives, dead or otherwise useless (female) spawn, and unfavorable advisors, the dizzying pace of developments would be irritating if not for the endearingly human moments during which the puppets pause to breathe, give the tiniest naturalistic shudder while leaving a room, shrug fatalistically, sigh almost imperceptibly. MARGARET FRIEDMAN

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Sept. 24. Continues through Oct. 24, 2009

 
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