Nature is majestic. Geese, cicadas, willows billowing in the breeze, star-shine framing the moon. The creation myth was born from a sense of majesty beyond life.
So that’s how “Tall Girl and the Lightning Parade” starts: invention. There’s the eponymous Tall Girl (Lucía Mier y Terán Romero) who weaves all of creation in her room. Her father, Sun (Alex Rodriguez), crosses the sky, stopping at noon to have lunch. Then there’s the Hummingbird Boy (Micah Figueroa), son to the ocean. These are some of the gods and demigods in the Lightning Parade who will guide you to the park, cross the grass and stand against the night sky.
All of the lightning parade make you feel small. When these giants lead you to the clearing and seat you on the grass, there’s a sense of anticipation, that we are here to witness an event. And really you are: the love story between Hummingbird Boy and Tall Girl is a pleasant departure from the stage’s standard flood of Greek mythology even if there’s some shared plot.
That anticipation only grows. The show, running about an hour, feels like a living story book. The characters are huge (Rodriguez as the Sun is specifically entertaining), the language pops and colors and clarifies. Adapters Enid Munoz and Isaac Fosl-van Wyke understand how to tell a tall tale.
But set against the backdrop? Washington Park at night is stunning: you can see the sky turn to dusk and somehow the puppets and artificial spectacle doesn’t match up. Especially when sometimes you can’t hear the performers and eventually can’t see them at all.
Ultimately, these are fixable flaws. The core of the experience is overwhelmingly positive. Walkabout is at their best when channeling the forces of nature. Here, it’s a little drawn back. But if you can remember to use your imagination and have some fun, “Tall Girl” is a great night out. (Jay Van Ort)
Walkabout Theater at Walsh Playground Park, 1722 North Ashland, August 23-24; La Villita Park, 2800 South Sacramento, August 26-27, walkabouttheater.org, Free. Through August 27.