PAC/edge Performance Festival | Festival | Chicago Reader

PAC/edge Performance Festival 

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This "convergence of Chicago artists," presented by Performing Arts Chicago and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, runs weekends through April 18. The avant-garde showcase features presentations by some of the city's most adventurous artists working in the disciplines of theater, performance, circus arts, storytelling, dance, music, video, and sound and installation art. Participants include Plasticene, Local Infinities, A Red Orchid Theatre, Sheldon B. Smith, 500 Clown, Mathew Wilson, Lucky Pierre, Goat Island, David Kodeski, Mad Shak Dance Company, Connor Kalista, the Walkabout Theater Company, Carol Genetti, the Bumblinni Brothers, and the Curious Theatre Branch.

All activities take place at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport; the sprawling arts complex hosts often simultaneous performances and installations on its main and studio stages and in offices, lounges, hallways, stairwells, and other spaces. The principal performance venues are the first-floor main stage and Studio 1; Studio 2 and Studio 3 on the second and third floors respectively; and the main-stage balcony lobby on the second floor in the rear of the building. (The second- and third-floor spaces must be reached by stairs.) The fest also offers workshops and panels with participating artists as shown below.

Prices for most events range from $5 to $20, though workshops generally cost more and some events and installations are free; see listings for details. For tickets and more information, and to register for workshops, call Performing Arts Chicago at 773-722-5463. Tickets can also be purchased through Ticketmaster by calling 312-902-1500 or logging on to www.ticketmaster.com.

Following is the schedule through March 21; a complete schedule is available online at www.chicagoreader.com.

FRIDAY, MARCH 19

The Surrender Office

Conceptual artist Mathew Wilson will, according to a press release, "be available for a confidential, one-on-one consultation regarding the client's need to surrender to any person, object or idea. . . . At a mutually ageed upon time and place, Mr. Wilson will surrender on your behalf, wielding a large white flag and noble demeanor." Coat check room, 7-10 PM. Free. (Reviewed this week in Section One.) ¥ Wilson and collaborator Adam Brooks will also team up for a weekly stunt on the streets--dates and times to be posted online at www.industryoftheordinary.com. Free.

The Usual Haunts

Connor Kalista's interactive installation uses a series of 5- to 20-minute guided tours to explore "the intertwined ideas of identity and environment." Participants can bring their own tape, CD, or MP3 players. Main lobby, 7-10 PM. Free.

My Name Is Mudd

Playwright-director Shawn Prakash Reddy has fine-tuned his gloriously profane send-up of historical reenactments, premiered last fall at the Rhinoceros Theater Festival. Fortunately he's kept the excellent ensemble and general approach, putting forth speculative half-truths and fabricating outrageous lies about John Wilkes Booth's assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Reddy proves there's an awful lot of wiggle room when it comes to history, which can easily be distorted to serve any agenda. Anchored by Guy Massey's acid portrayal of Booth as a preening ham, the cast of this Curious Theatre Branch production gleefully delivers Reddy's raucous slide show/lecture/sucker punch to the entire American educational system. (NG) Studio 1, 7:30 PM. $15.

Mavens of Video Art

The Walkabout Theater Company's Stephan Mazurek compiled this collection of experimental videos. Studio 2, 7:30 PM. $5.

500 Clown Frankenstein

The troupe that skewered Shakespeare in 500 Clown Macbeth takes on Mary Shelley's creation in this revised version of its 2003 production. Company members Adrian Danzig, Molly Brennan, and Paul Kalina are delightfully grotesque, dolled up in rapidly deteriorating costumes decorated with strategically placed bloodstains. Their generally edgy performances are enhanced by harrowing physical comedy that repeatedly brings the actors to the brink of injury. But while the group's utter inability to retell Frankenstein is charming for a while, their haplessness wears thin about halfway through, when it becomes clear the novel is merely an excuse for clowning. (JHa) Studio 3, 7:30 PM. $15.

The Poems of Replaceable Kings

Molly Shanahan and Mad Shak Dance Company perform to a score by Kevin O'Donnell. Main stage, 8 PM. $20.

BlankSlate

Plasticene premieres a "high-impact physical theater piece." Studio 3, 9:30 PM. $15.

Windows Server 2003/Active Directory Infrastructure

The theater company DOG presents a "rarefied staging of Microsoft's most current market offering." Studio 1, 10 PM. $15. (Reviewed this week in Section One.)

Lot's Wife

See review in this section. Studio 2, 10 PM. $15.

In the Solitude of Cotton Fields

A Red Orchid Theatre remounts its 2003 staging of French playwright Bernard-Marie Koltes' 1986 existential drama, in which two men--the Dealer and the Client--meet at "the hour when, ordinarily, man and beast are falling savagely one upon another." In this taut, mystifying, and deadly difficult work, the characters trade dense poetic monologues for 75 minutes, dissecting the indeterminacy of human desire. While the playwright's fascination with the dealer-client relationship seems at times more obstinate than evocative, his images are tantalizing, and his unsparing approach fascinates. Director Dexter Bullard avoids all gimmicks in this bare-bones production, letting the play proceed on its own maddeningly secretive terms. (JHa) Main-stage balcony lobby, 10 PM. $15.

SATURDAY, MARCH 20

A Salty Tale

Local Infinities relates an eastern European folktale with a blend of "storytelling, clowning, and scientific experiment." Studio 2, 2:30 PM. $5.

The Bumblinni Brothers Show

Actor-clowns Paul Kalina and Chuck Stubbings appear as Tony and Tony Bumblinni. The family-oriented program is a mix of pratfalls, jokes and puns, audience participation, and circus acts that should please just about anyone out for an entertaining evening. The acrobatics are fun, but under Kevin Theis's direction what really keeps the show moving is the duo's playful improvisational approach. Their easy relationship with the audience is what enables them to persuade volunteers to embarrass themselves onstage--perhaps the most difficult of all their feats. (JV) Studio 3, 3:30 PM. $5.

Rock and Roll: Impatience

Lucky Pierre's new performance piece is "an examination of rock 'n' roll without any rock 'n' roll." Studio 1, 4:30 PM. $5. (Reviewed this week in Section One.)

Play/Dead Jugar/Muerte

This ensemble-created music-theater piece employs personal histories, poems, and songs from the archive of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, a group of American antifascists who fought in the Spanish civil war. The production, directed by Jenny Magnus with music direction by Jamie O'Reilly, is a collaborative effort of Free Street Programs, the Music Theater Workshop, and the Columbia College Chicago Theater Department. Studio 2, 4:30 PM. $5.

The People Could Fly

Loren Crawford's family-oriented show examines how African slaves in America sustained themselves with storytelling, music, and dance. Stephan Mazurek directs, with Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago members Vaune Blalock and Paul Cotton providing choreography and musical direction respectively. Comic or entrancing tales that explain why a catfish or a spider looks the way it does appear alongside stories about the trickster Br'er Rabbit and clever slaves outwitting their masters. However, Crawford's attempt to educate young audiences about slavery through these stories isn't always successful: they often end abruptly or lack a clear moral lesson. (JG) Studio 3, 5 PM. $5.

The Surrender Office

See listing for 7 PM Friday, March 19. Coat check room, 7-10 PM. Free.

The Usual Haunts

See listing for 7 PM Friday, March 19. Main lobby, 7-10 PM. Free.

SecondPlace

This multimedia performance piece by GirlCharlie is centered on Charlie Levin's wax paintings. Lobby studio, 7:30 and 10 PM. $15.

Windows Server 2003/Active Directory

Infrastructure See listing for 10 PM Friday, March 19. Studio 1, 7:30 PM. $15.

The Poems of Replaceable Kings

See listing for 8 PM Friday, March 19. Main stage, 8 PM. $20.

Air Tact Light

See review in this section. Studio 2, 8 PM. $15.

BlankSlate

See listing for 9:30 PM Friday, March 19. Studio 3, 8 PM. $15.

The Angel in Moloch

Free Street uses spoken word, hip-hop, and video in its exploration of Allen Ginsberg's Howl. Studio 1, 9:30 PM. $15.

One Night Stand

Deva Eveland and Malin Lindelow curated this program of performance pieces by School of the Art Institute students. Studio 2, 10 PM. $10.

500 Clown Frankenstein

See listing for 7:30 PM Friday, March 19. Studio 3, 10 PM. $15.

In the Solitude of Cotton Fields

See listing for 10 PM Friday, March 19. Main-stage balcony lobby, 10 PM. $15.

SUNDAY, MARCH 21

The Surrender Office

See listing for 7 PM Friday, March 19. Coat check room, 3-6 PM. Free.

The Usual Haunts

See listing for 7 PM Friday, March 19. Main lobby, 3-6 PM. Free.

Plasticene Improvisational Jam

The physical-theater ensemble promises "amusement or horror" with this spontaneous performance. Studio 2, 3 PM. $5.

Windows Server 2003/Active Directory Infrastructure

See listing for 10 PM Friday, March 19. Studio 1, 3:30 PM. $15.

500 Clown Frankenstein

See listing for 7:30 PM Friday, March 19. Studio 3, 3:30 PM. $15.

SecondPlace

See listing for 7:30 PM Saturday, March 20. Lobby studio, 4 PM. $15.

The Poems of Replaceable Kings See listing for 8 PM Friday, March 19. Main stage, 4 PM. $20.

My Name Is Mudd

See listing for 7:30 PM Friday, March 19. Studio 1, 6 PM. $15.

Lot's Wife

See listing for 10 PM Friday, March 19. Studio 2, 6 PM. $15.

BlankSlate

See listing for 9:30 PM Friday, March 19. Studio 3, 6 PM. $15.

In the Solitude of Cotton Fields

See listing for 10 PM Friday, March 19. Main-stage balcony lobby, 6 PM. $15.

Voice Coil

Composer Eric Leonardson is joined by voice artist Carol Genetti and the group Thermal Drift for this program of "almost-alien sonic landscapes." Studio 1, 9 PM. $10.

ONGOING MARCH 12-APRIL 18

Good and Bad Things Come From Explosions

Heather Hubbs and Lorelei Stewart curated this showing of 15 Chicago-area visual artists. Throughout the Athenaeum, ongoing during festival hours. Free. There'll be a free tour of the installation on Saturday, March 27, at 5 PM.

Handle With Care: Direct Mail and the American Dream

This installation by GirlCharlie uses direct mail from sweepstakes and political groups to "immerse spectators in the language of hate, fear, and greed." Second floor, ongoing during festival hours. Free.

Mossans Saga (The Moss' Tale)

Participants can put on a moss hat with speakers to interact with "an oversized fairytale book" in this installation by Swedish artist Malin Lindelow. Curtain Call Club, first floor, ongoing during festival hours. Free.

Ra=Raw/Spirit

Malin Lindelow invokes the skogsra--a dangerous figure from Swedish folklore with the body of a woman and the tail of a beast--in this video installation. Curtain Call Club, first floor, ongoing during festival hours. Free.

Sodium Chloride

Local Infinities' visual installation serves as a companion piece to their Lot's Wife (see listing for 10 PM Friday, March 19). Second floor, ongoing during festival hours. Free.

Unmaking the World: Measuring Our Chances Again

Artists Dolores Wilber and Frances Whitehead use globes, weather balloons, circus imagery, and a grand piano in this visual installation that examines "the political and ecological events threatening to unravel our civilization." Stairwell and second-floor balcony, ongoing during festival hours. Free.

Watercloset(s)

Sandra Binion's video installation forms a diptych, using images of water and fragments of conversations between men and women to explore the tension between intimacy and public space. Men's and women's restrooms, ongoing during festival hours. Free.

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