Animal - a world premiere commissioned by HERE's Dream Music Puppetry Program - is set in a future world where the pursuit of happiness still escapes most. Healing is found deep in the bowels of a bio-genetics lab, where a shaman's animal guide is held in a cage on Ward B. Life-sized puppets come alive in this haunting and beautiful tale, created by HERE resident artist Kevin Augustine. Augustine spins a simple story of a boy and his dog. The boy is only 5/8ths human, and both are experimental test subjects in an underground pharmaceutical research lab. Animal is a dark, though ultimately redeeming, tale, fearlessly told through puppetry, movement and silence. Inspirations include the 1999 Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health citing a 7% increase per year in mental illness, the juxtaposition of traditional methods of holistic healing versus corporate systems of regulated health care, the effects of slavery and its long term cultural ramifications, and current scientific developments in interspecies creation through DNA combination.