In the cartoonish universe that Teatro Hugo & Ines fashions, where hands and feet transform into oddball Homer Simpson- or Elmer Fudd-like characters, there is most definitely a higher power, a master puppeteer. Call them mimes or movement artists, Pasic and Suarez, with godlike control and no strings, have a visionary way of creating the extraordinary out of the mundane.
Saturday in the sold-out Kogod Theatre of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, the pair -- Hugo Suarez, a native of Peru, and Ines Pasic, born in Bosnia-Herzegovina -- presented vignettes in a vaudeville of the body called "Short Stories."
First Pasic acted out a brief flirtation seated on a chair with an umbrella, bowler hat and a white glove as her amorous partner. Suarez used his clenched hand masked with a flesh-colored nose and glasses to introduce a marionette-like creation that owned a miniature marionette, making obvious the master-follower trope that pervaded the evening's 70 minutes.
In the unnamed vignettes, the performers enter and exit clad in basic black, carrying their props and costumes. The uncanny onstage transformations render feet into thoughtful eggheads and hands into grunting old women with prominent chins.
Then there's Pasic's bellybutton, done up in red lipstick, that opens and shuts as conversantly as a gregarious matron.
The pair's brief study of the stages of humanity beguiles. They follow a creation from youth through middle age; then old age overtakes him, his face pinched, his chin thrust forward. Then this hand puppet -- about to expire -- lets loose with a brash raspberry. Who says God didn't have a sense of humor?
-- Lisa Traiger