One little boy and a paper airplane. Add in a whole lot of imagination, and you have the adventure of Animal Engine’s Forever Flight.
Forever Flight is the story of a young boy who befriends a paper airplane. When the airplane flies away from him, he chases after it, making his way across land and sea, onto pirate ships, and into space. Throughout, the joy and power of imagination, particularly a child’s imagination, is evident.
Animal Engine is known for reimagining classic literature. Forever Flight draws from the novel Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and the comic strip Nemo in Slumberland by Windsor McCay. (No, you don’t need to be familiar with these works in order to enjoy the show.) The company is also know for presenting their new stories in minimalist and physically expressive shows—which is particularly evident in this show: a one man show without any words.
That’s right. Karim Muasher (Animal Engine co-artistic director), as the young boy, carries the audience through the entire show without saying a word. However, the story is helped along by sound effects from Muasher. These sounds—whether they’re of a racing engine or rushing ocean waves—not only give you the context for what’s going on in the scene, but they are perfectly aligned with the sounds a little boy would really make while playing. It is truly remarkable how clear the story is despite lack of dialogue and exposition. Forever Flight is a testament to the strength of body language and the skill of Animal Engine’s storytelling. And, perhaps, a testament as well to the universal background of childhood imagination.
Muasher’s sound effects aren’t all. There are a few musical compositions (originals by John Hilsen) threaded in the story. Lighting also does a great deal to help set the mood of the scenes. In keeping with the minimalist aesthetic, the effects are not drastic—a soft blue light to mark that the boy is underwater, a red glow low to the ground to signify a campfire—but they don’t need to be. Combined with Muasher’s performance, a little goes a long way.
Photo credit: Galen Higgins
1420 S. Washington Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55454
Running time: about 6o minutes, no intermission
Recommended for ages 8 and up