There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Paper puppets. Actors in silhouette. An overhead projector. A live band. No, this isn’t some reductive new adaptation of The Muppets; it’s Lula del Ray, a theater piece performed by Chicago’s Manual Cinema. The coming-of-age tale follows a lonesome adolescent girl, Lula, who lives with her mother in the middle of a satellite array in the American Southwest. After hearing a haunting country tune on the radio, Lula runs away from home in search of a new life. But during her journey, she finds the road to personal freedom fraught with danger, deception, and disappointment. The production includes no dialogue, so the story is told by shadowy shapes that flit across the screen to an original score inspired by the music of Hank Williams, Roy Orbison, and Patsy Cline. Manual Cinema knows its way around a stage: In 2013, it earned awards for Best of Festival and Best Design from the National Puppet Festival. Watch the performers’ graceful movements, quick scene changes, and artful imagery, and you’ll see why. The performance begins at 8 p.m. at Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $20. (703) 875-1100. artisphere.com.