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Stage tricks

It's not every semester that aerial acrobats, oversize puppets, mimes and a very frisky coat hanger get to share the Minnesota State University Moorhead stage.

Beautiful music

It's not every semester that aerial acrobats, oversize puppets, mimes and a very frisky coat hanger get to share the Minnesota State University Moorhead stage.

But when a bunch of students faced the task of riveting fidgety first-graders while also wowing grownup viewers, the unlikely gathering seemed like just the spectacle to unleash on stage.

In the whimsical new production, "Imagination," the MSUM theater department meets Cirque du Soleil. Think a loose plot line, few scripted lines and a blast of visual and audio stimulation.

"The reality that's created is totally unique, and that's exactly what we were going for," says the show's student director, Joshua Stenseth.

When Stenseth landed the gig of directing this year's annual fall children's show at MSUM, he decided to tackle a production that tells a story almost entirely through actor's bodies. He and theater professor Craig Ellingson came up with a loose script, drawing inspiration from Cirque, the circus-arts-as-theater franchise, and Stomp, a British dance troupe that harnesses bodies and everyday objects into quirky percussive ensembles.

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The high-energy succession of visual stunts, dance and other assorted frolicking is powered by a simple story. A young girl gets caught between two eccentric figures, the playful clown Ima and his uptight,

spoil-sport nemesis, Tion - the superego to Ima's id. They unleash a torrent of spectacle to win her over.

The two student casts perform for 12,000 area elementary school students over the next couple of weeks and for general audiences Saturday. Actors engage in

on-stage behaviors that don't often fly on the campus stage. Here are a few:

If you go

- What: "Imagination"

- Where: Hansen Theatre, Minnesota State University Moorhead

- When: 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday

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- Info: Tickets $8 adults, $6 seniors and $3 students. (218) 477.-2271

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mila Koumpilova at (701) 241-5529 Stage tricks Mila Koumpilova 20071113

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