Pigeons go hand in hand with city life: its public spaces, its trash, its park-dwelling nutcases. Frank, an obsessive-compulsive office worker, is especially intimate with the latter; in fact, he’s one of them, convinced that the pigeons in the park where he eats his lunch are plotting an “interspecies conspiracy” aimed directly at him. His efforts to crack their foul (no pun intended) designs is the subject of The Pigeoning, a fiendish morsel of puppet theater created by Robin Frohardt through an artist residency with the Dream Music Puppetry Program at HERE, where it is running.
At the controls of this batty battle of wits are five mischievous puppeteers, three of whom manipulate Frank, a toddler-size, middle-aged curmudgeon who walks, swims, and even flies with amusingly lifelike precision. His winged tormentors are iridescent plush balls that peck jerkily back at him from the end of trigger action sticks. The 60-minute show begins with a tongue-in-cheek video presentation, supervised by Freddi Price, the evening’s nerdy emcee on live synthesizer, introducing us to the Office Safety Manuals lying on our seats, and, ominously, on Frank’s desk. It’s a quirky cautionary tale about where excessive attention to security and order can lead over-policed and gel-sanitized flocks of urbanites. Resisting it is strictly for the birds.