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Manual Cinema 'Ada/Ava'

In less than a decade, the bold and talented Chicago collective Manual Cinema has become a theatrical powerhouse with its mesmerizing shadow-puppet spectacles. Blending techniques from animation and film and performing with original music, Manual Cinema reimagines puppetry, inventing what The New York Times calls "a spectral parade of fantastical images." The company deploys hundreds of handmade props and puppets animated by an army of actors working in shadow, making intricate and daring performances. Manual Cinema's work has been called "a brilliant mix of hi-fi and lo-fi" (The Times of London), and "something like a vintage silent film" (The Washington Post). Visually stunning and technically inspired, the company has won an Emmy Award and a growing international reputation as a sensational theatrical innovator.

Winner of an Emmy Award, Manual Cinema launches its Duke Performances residency with 'Ada/Ava,' which took top honors at 2013's National Puppet Festival. Two septuagenarian sisters share a quiet life in a seaside cottage beneath the lighthouse they tend. When Ava dies, Ada is left to search for her missing half by embarking on a surreal quest to find her sister and herself. Set to a rich mix of string-swept dirges and jazz standards played live onstage, Ada/Ava is "almost unbearably startling and sweet" (WBUR).

'Ada/Ava' will be performed February 8 and 9 at 8 p.m.

Contact: Gloria Hunt