Ice Floes of Franz Joseph Land (S.W.A.P. Manifestation) | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Ice Floes of Franz Joseph Land (S.W.A.P. Manifestation) 

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Chicago's fiercely experimental Trap Door Theatre has been teaming for almost a decade with internationally acclaimed LA performance and visual artist Catherine Sullivan; their best-known collaboration, 1998's Alien Hand, was a fascinating reinterpretation of the classic musical Lady in the Dark. More recently the company has worked with her on her latest piece, Ice Floes of Franz Joseph Land, a deconstructionist response to the 2002 takeover of a Moscow theater by Chechen rebels. For Sullivan, the hostage crisis raised a range of issues concerning cultural nationalism and what she describes as the global "theater of terrorism": the Moscow company was presenting Nord Ost, an American-style musical based on a Russian historical novel. Ice Floes of Franz Joseph Land was first incarnated as a five-screen video installation showing footage of Trap Door members enacting scenes created by Sullivan, shot in Chicago at the Stowarzyszenie Weteranow Amerykansko Polskich (SWAP), or Polish Army Veterans Association. First shown at the Biennale d'art contemporain de Lyon, the video show is now on display at the Whitney Museum in New York. This weekend the work receives its first live presentation, for which Sullivan has enhanced the original tableaux with new text. Then the live production travels to the Orensanz Center in Manhattan for Easter-weekend shows complementing the Whitney exhibition. Polish Army Veterans Association, 6005 W. Irving Park, 773-384-0494. April 2-3: Friday-Saturday, 8 PM. $10.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Kacper Skowkon.

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