[image-1]It was dreamy, funny, brilliant, and at times absurd.

That was the experience of watching Geoffrey Cormier’s shadow puppet theater Saturday night at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. The music, performed by the New Music Collective, was equally so, plus it was strong enough to stand on its own.

The show came in three parts. One was an adaptation of a James Purdy short story about a man named Mr. Evening who covets a “a certain hard-to-find rose, shell-like hand-painted china tea cup circa 1910.” A stand-out feature of Act I was the color projections on which were set the shadows of Mr. Evening and the hilariously diabolical Mrs. Owens (think Fatal Attraction meets Mrs. Doubtfire).

Second came a pastoral fantasy turned dystopian nightmare. It’s about a young flower princess who dances to enchanting gamalan music. Later we learn that her insouciant frolic beneath a benevolent sun comes at the pleasure of some pretty nasty-looking bugs. This aboriginal El Dorado ends in apocalypse. Of course.

My favorite was Act III, a waltz written by New Age philosopher Walter Russell accompanying an aquarium scene with pregnant mermaids giving birth to little mermen and stylized fish and sea horses. A hypnotic tableau to remember for a long time.