Manual Cinema: Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About A Terrible Monster

Presented by Off Square Theatre and Center Presents

Manual Cinema: Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About A Terrible Monster
Off Square Theatre and Center Presents
The Center Theater
January 20 | 7:00 PM


The Center and Off Square Theatre Company are proud to welcome Emmy winners Manual Cinema and their critically acclaimed family show. 

Leonardo is a terrible monster. He tries so hard to be scary, but he just… isn’t. Then Leonardo finds Sam, the most scaredy-cat kid in the world. Will Leonardo finally get to scare the tuna salad out of someone? Or will it be the start of an unlikely friendship? The plot thickens when this pair meets Kerry and Frankenthaler, an even scaredier-cat and her monster friend. Kerry and Sam need to make a big decision: will they just be scaredy cats or can they become friends?

Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster uses hundreds of illustrated paper puppets, book pages, two-dimensional props, furry monster puppets, and songs to bring Mo Willems' books to life. Manual Cinema wanted to re-create the experience of holding one of Mo’s book pages, which are big, bold, colorful, and full of visual rhythm, with a playful use of scale. Like all Manual Cinema productions, you’re invited to watch the big screen like a traditional movie, or to watch the artists below as they create the story in real time. (There is no wrong way to watch the show!)

Manual Cinema is an Emmy award winning performance collective, design studio, and film/ video production company founded in 2010 by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Ben Kauffman, Julia Miller, and Kyle Vegter. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, and innovative sound and music to create immersive stories for stage and screen. Using vintage overhead projectors, multiple screens, puppets, actors, live feed cameras, multi-channel sound design, and a live music ensemble, Manual Cinema transforms the experience of attending the cinema and imbues it with liveness, ingenuity, and theatricality. The company was awarded an Emmy Award in 2017 for “The Forger,” a video created for The New York Times and named Chicago Artists of the Year in 2018 by the Chicago Tribune. Their shadow puppet animations will be featured in the film remake of Candyman debuting September 2020, directed by Nia DaCosta and produced by Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions.

Manual Cinema has been presented by, worked in collaboration with, or brought its work to The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), BAM (NYC), Arts Emerson, Yale Repertory Theatre, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Kennedy Center (DC), Under the Radar Festival (NYC), La Monnaie-DeMunt (Brussels), The Noorderzon Festival (Netherlands), The Kimmel Center (Philadelphia) The O, Miami Poetry Festival, The Tehran International Puppet Festival (Iran), Davies Symphony Hall (SF), The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Saudi Arabia), The Ace Hotel Theater (LA), The Hakaway International Arts Festival (Cairo), The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and elsewhere around the world. They have collaborated with StoryCorps (NYC), Erratica (London), The Belgian Royal Opera (Brussels), Hubbard Street Dance (Chicago), Pop-Up Magazine (SF), Nu Deco Ensemble (Miami), NYTimes best-selling author Reif Larsen (NYC), three time Grammy Award-winning eighth blackbird (Chicago), NPR’s Invisibilia, Topic Magazine, Grammy Award winning Esperanza Spalding and The New York Times.

In 2020 Manual Cinema celebrated their ten year anniversary and had their South American premiere (at the Santiago a Mil festival).

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