Preview: Simple Gifts

Simple Gifts, 4 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday; $10-$40; Mondavi Center, 1 Shields Avenue in Davis; (866) 754-2787; Through October 30.

The Cashore Marionettes return to the Mondavi Center with Simple Gifts, a show for family audiences which incorporates classical music (Vivaldi, Strauss, Beethoven, Copland) with specially built, carefully engineered marionettes that are capable of lifelike movement (an elephant that picks up a tree trunk, a boy who climbs the puppeteer’s leg, an electric guitarist whose fingers press chords as they move up and down the instrument’s neck, etc.).

The Cashore Marionettes were founded by master puppeteer Joseph Cashore, who has been touring with the company for 30-plus years. Simple Gifts has been performed in Europe, East Asia and across North America. The production has become the company’s signature production, returning to the Mondavi Center every four years or so because of the show’s continuing popularity, and because a new generation of children has yet to experience it. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended for this one—the shows tend to sell out quickly.