Chess has existed in one form or another for 1,500 years -- that's quite a run for a board game. The key to its success is its complex simplicity. Each of the pieces has limitations on its movements, but there are sixteen pieces per side making those moves on only 64 squares. Those limitations spark endless creativity in attack and defense, depending on who is playing and whether they're making the first or second move. That locus of complex simplicity and endless creativity will be exploited -- for good, only for good -- in Circus Flora's 2014 show, The Pawn. Inspired by the game's origins in India and Persia, The Pawn is set in an exotic dreamworld of myth and magic. The hero, the titular Pawn, must journey through this realm of knights and kings, which is represented by moving chess pieces played by the performers. The stars include equestrian rider S. Caleb Carinci Asch, Finland's juggling sensation Duo Kate & Pasi, and Andriy Bilobrov and his quintet of Jack Russell terriers. The Pawn is performed at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 1 and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 and 5:30 p.m. Sunday (May 29 through June 22) at Circus Flora's Big Top in Grand Center (Samuel Shepard Drive and North Grand Boulevard; 314-289-4040 or www.circusflora.org). Tickets are $10 to $48.
Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 1 & 7 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 5:30 p.m. Starts: May 29. Continues through June 22, 2014