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Manual Cinema Presents LIVE Tele-FUN-draiser World Premiere Special


Manual Cinema's LIVE Tele-FUN-draiser World Premiere Special, Saturday, August 22 at 8 p.m. CST, is a one-night-only, 10th Anniversary variety show.

Manual Cinema Presents LIVE Tele-FUN-draiser World Premiere Special

Manual Cinema's LIVE Tele-FUN-draiser World Premiere Special, Saturday, August 22 at 8 p.m. CST, is a one-night-only, 10th Anniversary variety show capped by the live debut of a new short work from the acclaimed Chicago-based live performance, design studio, and film/video production collective.

Fans, friends, and Manual Cinema's artists will reunite online for a virtual celebration featuring live music, cameos by past Manual Cinema characters, and special guest performances by puppeteer Myra Su and singer/songwriter/visual artist Maren Celest.

Headlining Manual Cinema's LIVE Tele-FUN-draiser is the world premiere of the company's newest work, Quarantine Dream, Manual Cinema's first socially distanced performance made exclusively for live streaming.

In Quarantine Dream, a woman forced to work from home is driven out of her mind by self-isolation; that is, until she receives a letter from the Dream Delivery Service. The letter takes her on a journey of her own subconscious, culminating in a rendezvous with a mysterious stranger on a bicycle.

Told with overhead projectors, crankies, miniatures, live music and sound design, Quarantine Dream is a 15-minute new work created and performed live by the company's five co-artistic directors: Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Ben Kauffman, Julia Miller and Kyle Vegter.

Donations will be encouraged during the event to compensate for lost touring income due to Covid-19. Ten percent of proceeds will go to the actors and artists featured in the four shows that are now being revived online as part of Manual Cinema's 10th Anniversary Retrospectacular!, along with the artists who would have been hired this month to perform the shows live at Chopin Theater as originally planned.

Right now, it's week two of Manual Cinema's month-long virtual birthday party, which is reviving four of the company's most seminal shows, one per week, for virtual audiences on multi-camera, high-definition video and in their entirety.

Go to to enjoy free, on-demand, 24/7 streams of The End of TV, playing now through Monday, August 10 at Noon, followed by No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, August 10-17, and Frankenstein, August 17-23.

In addition, live, online, virtual talkbacks reuniting each production's creators, collaborators and fans are Saturday, August 8 for The End of TV, Saturday, August 15 for No Blue Memories (featuring playwrights Eve Ewing and Nate Marshall, moderated by Ydalmi Noriega of the Poetry Foundation) and Friday, August 21 for Frankenstein. Talkbacks start at 8 p.m. CST.

Visit for more information about Manual Cinema's 10th Anniversary Retrospectacular! and Manual Cinema's LIVE Tele-FUN-draiser World Premiere Special.

More about the three remaining shows in Retrospectacular!

The End of TV

August 3-10

The End of TV explores the quest to find meaning amongst the increasingly constant barrage of commercial images and advertising white noise. Set in a post-industrial Rust Belt city in the 1990s, this production is staged in cinematic shadow puppetry and lo-fi live video feeds with flat paper renderings of commercial products, and driven by a 70's inspired R&B-inspired art pop song cycle performed by a five-piece band. "With puppets, projections and a Rust Belt story, Manual Cinema works magic." - Chicago Tribune

Manual Cinema received creation and touring grant support for The End of TV from the National Theater Project, a program administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts. It premiered in 2017 at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, CT. It was filmed at Chicago's Chopin Theatre the following year.

No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

August 10-17

No Blue Memories: The Story of Gwendolyn Brooks tells the true story of the first lady of Chicago poetry by combining intricate paper puppetry, live actors working in shadow, and an original score for an unforgettable multi-media experience. This 2017 Manual Cinema premiere was commissioned by the Poetry Foundation, written by Crescendo Literary (Eve L. Ewing and Nate Marshall), and features music composed by Jamila Woods and Ayanna Woods. "You've Never Seen Gwendolyn Brooks Like This Before" - Chicago Magazine


August 17-23

Love, loss, and discovery merge in unexpected ways when Manual Cinema stitches together the classic story of Frankenstein with Mary Shelley's own biography. This 2018 Court Theatre world premiere is a thrilling classic gothic tale about the horrors of creation, weaving together the stories of Mary Shelley, Victor Frankenstein, and his Monster using shadow puppetry, a 3D creature puppet, live actors in camera, live music, and percussive robots. "Full of boundless imagination, ingenious technique and beautiful storytelling that packs an emotional punch...simply outstanding." - Fringe Review UK

A recipient of the 2018 Jim Henson Workshop Grant, Frankenstein was originally developed with The Public Theatre's Devised Theater Initiative in a research residency partnership with the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. The filmed version for the retrospective was shot in 2019 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland.

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