By Kij Johnson
Aimee’s big trick is that she makes 26 monkeys vanish onstage.
She pushes out a claw-foot bathtub and asks audience members to come up and inspect it. The people climb in and look underneath, touch the white enamel, run their hands along the little lion’s feet. When they’re done, four chains are lowered from the proscenium stage’s fly space. Aimee secures them to holes drilled along the tub’s lip, gives a signal, and the bathtub is hoisted ten feet into the air.
She sets a stepladder next to it. She claps her hands and the 26 monkeys onstage run up the ladder one after the other and jump into the bathtub. The bathtub shakes as each monkey thuds in among the others. The audience can see heads, legs, tails; but eventually every monkey settles and the bathtub is still again. Zeb is always the last monkey up the ladder. As he climbs into the bathtub, he makes a humming boom deep in his chest. It fills the stage.
And then there’s a flash of light, two of the chains fall off, and the bathtub swings down to expose its interior.