Cloud Man
Cloud Man Credit: Courtesy of Chicago Humanities Festival

At Stages, Sights & Sounds, the Chicago Humanities Festival’s annual spring fling, six European and North American theater companies present work that’s innovative, entertaining—and kid friendly. The focus of this year’s batch of plays, which includes Grimm’s classics, murder mysteries, and happily-ever-afters at any age, is fairy tales.

In Sleeping Beauty Dreams, by the Mexican troupe Marionetas de la Esquina, the storied princess deals with overbearing parents and is played by a puppet—which could help with the sleeping-for-a-hundred-years thing (5/15-5/19, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln). H.G. is an interactive interpretation of the story of Hansel and Gretel, with audience members given a set of headphones and a flashlight to help navigate the tale (5/10-5/13, Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph). The Canadian company L’Illusion Théâtre de Marionettes offers another take on Hansel and Gretel with Under the Stars, a puppet show that touches on themes of “poverty, fear, imagination, and change” (5/7-5/12, Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago).

Cloud Man employs puppets, live actors, and an original score to tell the story of a girl named Cloudia, whose head is in the clouds (5/7-5/18, Storefront Theater, 66 E. Randolph). With Murder on the Midwest Express, Chicago-based Theatre Unspeakable steers a classic Agatha Christie whodunit straight into the American heartland circa 2050 (5/14-5/19, Victory Gardens). Through hip-hop, humor, and impersonation, writer-performer Paige Hernandez recounts her adolescent years in Paige in Full (5/7-5/11, MCA).