It's not easy to wrap sentences around this fantastical storytelling spectacle created by a collaboration of artists under Sean T. Calwelti's direction. The launching point is the mid20th century and a laboratory whose apparatus is the "origin" machine, a fanciful contraption reminiscent of sci-fi circa the 1940s and 1950s. The machine is operated by a conscientious engineer and his somewhat airheaded assistant, who, like Icarus, dreams of strapping on wings and taking flight. Each time the machine is activated, it precipitates an oblique and fanciful tale about the origin of something: music, fire, sin, love/lava (jealousy), the chicken and the egg, the rabbit in the moon and creation itself. Each narrative is presented with wordless mime, elaborated on by a profusion of lighting, sound, videography, puppetry, masks and music. As impressive as these technical elements are, they never outrun the stories themselves, each of which offers a quirky fable about some aspect of the human condition. The superb production values (overseen by tech director Daniel Geesing) include designer Katie Polebaum's expressive masks, so many of which capture the essence of a singular sentiment or passion, as well as Kerry Hennessy's imaginative costumes and John Noburi's indispensably animating audio design. A terrific seven-person ensemble displays amazing versatility in presenting this plethora of parables and yarns. [Inside] the Ford, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hlywd.; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m., Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; through Dec. 12. (323) 461-3673.
Sat., Nov. 6; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m.; Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m. Starts: Nov. 6. Continues through Dec. 12, 2010