Tibet Through the Red Box

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
It’s rare to encounter Tibetan monks, dressed in colorful robes, at a play. But then, "Tibet Through The Red Box" is a pretty unusual show. It’s got talking animals, great lumbering snow creatures that are ten feet tall, and more. The story takes place fifty years ago, dealing with the grim experience of a boy in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia and the exotic experience of the boy’s father, who’s working in Chinese-occupied Tibet. The Chinese are building a highway so that they can bring in their trucks. The father tries to explain trucks to a Tibetan monk, who’s never seen one, and doubts their practicality. (Monk: We have such things here in Tibet. We call them yaks. / Father: No, a truck would be different from a yak. / Monk: Can you eat a truck? / Father: No, that would be one of the major differences. / Monk: Can you drink it’s milk? / Father: Trucks don’t give milk. / Monk: Can you wear its fur? / Father: Trucks don’t have fur. / Monk: Why would anyone choose to own a truck when they could have a yak instead?) This show is a verbal and visual treat, with elaborate, professionally made costumes, and actors who fly through the air on wires, a la Peter Pan. Director Diane Fetterly stages magical scenes, so pretty you want to frame them. And the story has a gentle, playful Buddhist perspective that’s most appealing. It’s only January, but “Tibet Through The Red Box” is going on this critic’s list of the year’s best shows. Jeff Hudson, KXJZ news. (Music out.)