Think of the International Voices Project as a theater-themed world cruise—only free and with a significantly lower chance of seasickness. In a joint effort with Premiere Theatre and Performance, Chicago cultural institutions representing eight foreign nations (Argentina, Egypt, France, Canada, Ukraine, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland) host concert-style readings of plays written by their native sons and daughters. All scripts will be performed in English. Here's the full ten-week schedule:
Five lonely souls go looking for love in Third Wing, the "dramedy" by Argentine writer Claudio Tolcachir that opens the IVP (Tue 5/8, 7 PM, Instituto Cervantes, 31 W. Ohio). Touted as "one of the first theatrical responses to the Egyptian revolution" of 2011, Ibrahim El-Husseini's Comedy of Sorrows portrays the political awakening of a young woman and of Egypt as a whole (Tue 5/15, 6 PM, Consulate General of Egypt, 360 E. Randolph, no seats available). Candles are traditionally an image of hope, but in the French play Candle Fabrice Melquiot depicts a couple whose marriage is shaken when they let a vengeful, voyeuristic stranger into their home (Tue 5/29, 7 PM, Alliance Française de Chicago, 54 W. Chicago). Ukrainian playwright Anna Yablonskaya died, at 29, in last year's suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport. Pagans is her final work, the tale of a woman who shows up unannounced to live with her son and his family (Fri 6/8, 7 PM, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, 2320 W. Chicago). In the French-Canadian American Shot—the title references a French filmmaking term, not a Starbucks order—a pair of humanists find they've raised children who care for nothing but animal rights and each other (Tue 6/19, 7 PM, Alliance Française de Chicago). The German entry, Marius von Mayenburg's Martyr, traces the evolution of a young man's religious fervor (Tue 6/26, 7 PM, Goethe-Institut Chicago, 150 N. Michigan). Invasion may be Swedish, but don't expect Vikings: this "tornado of words, images, and ideas" by Jonas Hassen Khemiri—a Swede of Tunisian descent—deconstructs Arab male identity (Tue 7/10, 7 PM, Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark). And in The Test, from Swiss writer Lukas Barfuss, a DNA test stirs up a beakerful of drama by proving that poor Peter isn't the father of his wife's son (Tue 7/17, 7 PM, Goethe-Institut Chicago).