Chicago Shakespeare Theater Announces 2014/15 World's Stage Series
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) announces today the 2014/15 World's Stage Series-bringing the most fresh and innovative work from theater companies around the world to Chicago and touring CST-developed productions to festivals abroad. From Australia, South Africa, France, England, Scotland and Belgium, this season's offerings for Chicago audiences feature productions from eight internationally acclaimed theater companies. In keeping with the mission of the World's Stage program to serve as an international cultural ambassador for Chicago, the Theater is also touring CST-produced work abroad to Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
The Melbourne-based artists one step at a time like this, who astonished audiences and critics alike with the urban journey en route, return to Chicago with a world premiere commissioned by and created with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Since I Suppose. Based on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, this site-responsive pedestrian theatrical experience incorporates digital technologies, city locales and inhabitants to take audiences through downtown Chicago, August 28-September 21, 2014. Since I Suppose will chiefly employ screen-based technologies and augmented reality, moving the audience through places of power, prayer and pleasure. Since I Suppose is presented by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions Ltd., in association with Melbourne Festival.
A US premiere from South Africa's Isango Ensemble, The Magic Flute re-imagines Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's most beloved operatic work, incorporating African singing, pulsating beats and spirited storytelling into this 223-year-old classic. With a score transposed for an orchestra of marimbas, drums and percussion, thirty actors and musicians fill the stage with sheer exuberance, celebrating the spirit of contemporary Africa. The Sunday Times gives the show five stars, applauding its "soaring lyricism, a sense of celebration, generous moral urgency, playful joviality-it is touching, sexy and cheeky." The Magic Flute will be performed on the Skyline Stage on Navy Pier (next door to CST) September 25-28, 2014. The Magic Flute-Impempe Yomlingo is produced by Eric Abraham, adapted and directed by co-founder Mark Dornford-May with words and music by Mandisi Dyantyis, Mbali Kgosidintsi, Pauline Malefane and Nolufefe Mtshabe. Tickets for The Magic Flute are on sale now for $20-$55.
From Paris's Théâtre de la Ville, Ionesco Suite celebrates the work of maverick avant-garde playwright Eugène Ionesco with a whirlwind montage encapsulating seven of his plays, brimming with wicked humor and hard-hitting themes. In its only US engagement, Ionesco Suite will be performed in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, October 15-October 19, 2014. Conceived and directed by Théâtre de la Ville Artistic Director Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota, the scene is set in a seemingly ordinary dinner party attended by five characters. The gathering descends into an absurdist nightmare, making for a lively rampage against social conventions and a scathing parody of human behavior. France's TouteLaCulture calls Ionesco Suite "funny, extravagant, chilling. Quintessential Ionesco, exactly as it should be." Chicago Shakespeare Theater's presentation of Ionesco Suite is performed in French with projected English translation. Tickets for Ionesco Suite are on sale now for $45-$55.
Chicago Shakespeare is proud to announce its participation in Chicago's inaugural International Puppet Festival, with presentations of Blind Summit's The Table from the United Kingdom and Freeze! from Belgium, January 14-25, 2015. CST joins the Art Institute of Chicago, The Second City, the Field Museum of Natural History and other Chicago cultural institutions in the weeklong celebration of dynamic and inventive puppetry. Returning to the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare after a critically acclaimed run in October 2013, The Table features the unforgettable Moses, a cantankerous and loveable puppet with a cardboard head faced with an existential crisis-on a table. Blind Summit Theatre, founded by Mark Down and Nick Barnes, is reinventing puppetry for modern adult audiences and pioneering new methods of performing with puppets. In addition to performances of The Table, Blind Summit will also present late night performances of a new work in progress on Fridays and Saturdays during the festival. Tickets for The Table are on sale now for $20-$35.
Also presented in conjunction with the International Puppet Festival January 14-25, 2015 is the US Premiere of Freeze!, a one-of-a-kind live performance event from Belgium. Creator and performer Nick Steur welcomes audiences to witness as he artfully balances stones without glue or other manipulations. Winner of the Edinburgh Fringe First award in 2013, Freeze! blurs the line between performer and audience as all collectively experience the unexplainable harmony that comes from balance and focus. The Scotsman raves, "It reminds us of the essential narrative simplicity of dramatic experience...And it is also absolutely and compellingly beautiful, in its perfect focus on the radiant energy of the stuff that makes up our world." Freeze! is presented with Richard Jordan Productions Ltd.
These presentations join previously announced productions of Hamlet from Shakespeare's Globe and Dunsinane from Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre of Scotland to create a rich tapestry of offerings in this season's World's Stage Series. Chicago Shakespeare is one of only two US theaters hosting Shakespeare's Globe's ambitious world tour of Hamlet, presented in CST's Courtyard Theater July 28, 29 and 30, 2014. Scheduled to visit 205 countries in a two-year globe-circling tour, the production's journey began in London on Shakespeare's 450th birthday this past spring and concludes in its home theater to celebrate the Quadricentennial on April 23, 2016. The Globe's Hamlet is a fresh, pared-down version of the celebrated classic, embracing all the exuberance and invention of Shakespeare's language in a brisk two hours and forty minutes. Tickets for Hamlet are on sale now for $65.
The 2014/15 season also includes Dunsinane, David Greig's captivating sequel to Shakespeare's Macbeth. This collaboration between Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre of Scotland is presented in CST's Courtyard Theater, February 26-March 22, 2015. Dunsinane explores one man's attempt to restore peace in a country consumed by war following Macbeth's death. The Guardian hailed this "a work of compelling intelligence, provocation and wit." Fierce one minute and funny the next, this dark story is infused with rich humor, resulting in a lively, vital examination of power and illuminating uncanny parallels between Scotland's medieval and present-day political landscapes. Tickets for Dunsinane are on sale now for $58-$78.
Continuing its globe-circling success on the international theater festival circuit, Chicago Shakespeare's Othello: The Remix joins Since I Suppose to travel to Melbourne Festival, Australia's premier arts festival exploring the best of the world's performance art, visual arts and multimedia, October 10-26, 2014. Othello: The Remix will also go on to New Zealand's Aukland Arts Festival in March 2015. This globally recognized festival celebrates the cultural diversity and vibrant energy of New Zealand's largest city. Written, directed and with music by the Q Brothers and developed with CST Creative Producer Rick Boynton, Othello: The Remix is a 90-minute hip-hop adaptation of William Shakespeare's tragedy, spun out and lyrically rewritten over original beats. After its world premiere on the Shakespeare's Globe stage for 2012 Cultural Olympiad, Othello: The Remix enjoyed a 20-week extended run Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare and was seen around the world in Scotland, Germany, South Korea and Australia.
Chicago Shakespeare's co-production with the Market Theatre of Johannesburg, Cadre by Omphile Molusi, travels to Canada's The Cultch, Vancouver's historic Cultural Centre dedicated to producing exciting and significant contemporary work, February 24-March 8, 2015. Directed by Omphile Molusi in collaboration with CST's Creative Producer Rick Boynton, Cadre is inspired by true events in the life of an activist during and after the apartheid era. Cadre, which had its world premiere in Chicago and went on to a successful extended run at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg and as part of South Africa's National Arts Festival, was featured as one of twelve productions in the Traverse Theatre's 50th anniversary season at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) believes that Shakespeare speaks to everyone. A global theatrical force, CST is known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare's genius for storytelling, language and empathy for the human condition. CST has evolved into a dynamic company, producing award-winning plays at their home on Navy Pier, throughout Chicago's schools and neighborhoods, and on stages around the world. Chicago Shakespeare serves as a partner in literacy to Chicago Public Schools, working alongside English teachers to help struggling readers connect with Shakespeare in the classroom, and bringing his text to life on stage for 40,000 students every year. And each summer, 17,000 families and audience members of all ages welcome the free Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks into their neighborhoods across the far north, west and south sides of the city. Reflecting the global city of their Chicago home, CST is the leading producer of international work in Chicago and has toured their own plays abroad to Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.
The Theater's tradition of excellence and civic leadership has been honored with numerous national and international awards, including the Regional Theater Tony Award®, three Laurence Olivier Awards, and seventy-seven total Joseph Jefferson Awards. CST was the 2012 recipient of the Folger Shakespeare Library's national Shakespeare Steward Award for innovative teaching of Shakespeare in American classrooms. Among its many international engagements, CST participated in the Royal Shakespeare Company's 2006 Complete Works Festival and was selected to represent North America at the Globe to Globe festival as part of London's 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
Special ticket discounts for Chicago Shakespeare Theater productions are available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets available for patrons under 35. All patrons receive a 40% discount on guaranteed parking in Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets or a season subscription, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com.