Physical Theater Festival Chicago Adds Three New Works To Lineup
Physical Theater Festival Chicago organizers have revealed a second wave of international live theater acts ready to delight Chicago and defy all norms, to complete the 2019 festival's nine-day line-up, May 31-June 8 at Chicago's Stage 773.
Internationally acclaimed physical theater acts from Brazil and Finland join contemporary physical theater artists from Denmark, the UK and Chicago for nine days of highly physical, incredibly visceral and wholly original works theater that moves you. Additions to the festival announced today include:
Helga life of a diva extraordinaire, an absurd comedy from Finland, skillfully performed by circus artist Henni Kervinen and directed by Jenni Kallo of the renowned Kallo Collective.
Tragedy and comedy meet as Helga invites us into her world, from the mundane details of her day to the fabulous memories of her life. Kervinen uses mime, clowning and circus skills to describe Helga's life, which is simultaneously tragic and comic. The work is also silent, no interpreter needed, making it a real option for audiences that are deaf or hearing impaired. Performances are Friday, May 31 at 9 p.m.; Saturday, June 1 at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, June 2 at 5 p.m.
The Gift, performed by Brazilian-born clown and actor Angela de Castro, perhaps best known for creating the Green Clown in SLAVA'S SNOWSHOW. In this poignant, funny story of love, loss and loneliness, a clown waits and waits and waits for his date to arrive. In what seems an eternity he walks a tightrope between passion and despair. Will it all end in tears or laughter? Don't miss this heart-warming tale in the great tradition of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Performance are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 6, 7 and 8 at 7 p.m.
The Raveling, a work in progress from Chicago's Walkabout Theatre. Part family fever dream, part fairy tale, part detective story, watch co-creators from Chicago, Toronto and New Delhi ravel threads of heritage, history and hearsay as the knot of belonging is stretched and pulled across countries and decades of legends, heroes, and misadventures. The Raveling is part of the festival's inaugural Fresh Series, a new program for long-form showings to compliment Scratch Night, a program for short-form works-in-progress. Performances are Sunday, June 2 at 8:30 p.m. and Monday, June 3 at 9 p.m.
The festival's annual Scratch Night, a wildly entertaining evening of new and experimental short works by emerging and veteran physical theater artists, is Tuesday, June 4 at 9 p.m. Stay tuned for the line-up.
Already confirmed as part of the sixth annual Physical Theater Festival Chicago are:
Next Door, an award winning show by Danish company Out of Balanz, returns after a sold-out smash hit run at Chicago's first Physical Theater Festival. This lo-fi, high-octane, poignant physical comedy is back to celebrate the importance of relationships and what connects all of us, even with your neighbor. Performances open the festival Friday, May 31 at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 1 at 9 p.m. and Sunday, June 2 at 2 p.m.
Chicago's Aura CuriAtlas Physical Theatre makes its Physical Theater Festival debut with A Life with No Limits, also part of the festival's new Fresh Series. Inspired by the life and work of astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, this ambitious new piece is told wordlessly through dance, theater, acrobatics and original music. It reflects on the determination, passion and sense of humor of someone who has severe physical limitations, yet also has an imagination that roams free. Performances are Monday and Tuesday, June 3 and 4 at 7 p.m.
Freeman, a Chicago premiere by Strictly Arts (UK), also marks the largest international production ever presented at Physical Theater Festival Chicago. This stunning new work, a critically acclaimed, sold out hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is inspired by William Freeman, the first man in America to plead insanity as his defense. Using physical theater, spoken word, gospel singing, shadow puppetry and more, Freeman threads together six true stories, including Sandra Bland's, to examine the unspoken link between mental health and systemic racism. Freeman closes the festival Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 6, 7 and 8 at 9 p.m.
A robust series of professional education workshops taught by visiting festival artists as part of Physical Theater Festival Chicago is also to be announced. Visit physicalfestival.com for updates and to register.
Home base for Physical Theater Festival Chicago is Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. Festival passes ($50 and $65) and single tickets ($15-$20) to all announced shows are on sale now at physicalfestival.com.
More about the 2019 Physical Theater Festival Chicago
Back for its sixth year, Chicago's Physical Theater Festival presents a diverse slate of radically different works of physical theater, loosely defined as storytelling through highly physical, highly visual means to create live, original and contemporary works. Physical theater embraces such a wide variety of styles, approaches and aesthetics including clown, puppetry, mime, mask, dance, theater, vaudeville and circus, stop motion film and poetry to name just a few, said Festival Co-Director Alice da Cunha. Chicago is fortunate to be home to one of the best, most eclectic and adventurous audiences in the world. So 'let's get physical,' Chicago. This is your chance to see an eye-opening variety of contemporary physical theater styles, artists and companies from around the globe.
Following is the 2019 Physical Theater Festival Chicago line-up, in chronological order:
Next Door By Out of Balanz From Copenhagen, Denmark Friday, May 31 at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 1 at 9 p.m., Sunday, June 2 at 2 p.m. 60 minutes For ages 12 and up
Multi-award winning Danish company Out of Balanz returns to Chicago with their critically acclaimed Next Door. The stand-out smash hit of Chicago's first Physical Theater Festival in 2014 is back by popular demand to re-celebrate physical comedy, active imaginations and the importance of relationships.
When Ivan Hansen's neighbor passes away suddenly, Ivan realizes he doesn't know anything about him. In Next Door, intimate storytelling and high-octane physical theater explore what it is that really connects us.
Next Door captured First Prize and Audience Prize at the Birmingham European Theatre Festival 2013 and Best Male Performers at Kosovo's Skena Up International Festival. The Copenhagen Post called it imaginative and groundbreaking an unforgettable journey into the human psyche. The Scotsman found it irresistible.
Founded in 2006, Out of Balanz is an award-winning international theater ensemble based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Recognized for their highly collaborative creative process and for producing original work rich in spectacle and adventurous in form, Out of Balanz has created over a dozen original works and toured to 16 different countries in Europe, North America and Asia (including such venues as The John Houseman Theatre off-Broadway, The Barbican in London and at the first-ever Physical Theater Festival Chicago.) The company was named one of the 13 most innovative physical theater companies in the world, alongside such prestigious companies as The Siti Company and DV8, by backstage.com. For more, visit outofbalanz.org.
Helga life of a diva extraordinaire By Henni Kervinen, directed by Jenni Kallo From Finland Friday, May 31 at 9 p.m.; Saturday, June 1 at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, June 2 at 5 p.m. 60 minutes For ages 10 and up
A new cabaret diva extraordinaire is here! Poignant, melancholy mime, clowning circus skills and physical comedy make up the wordless story of Helga. Tragedy and comedy meet as Helga invites us into her world, from the mundane details of her day to the fabulous memories of her life.
Helga is skillfully performed by Finnish circus artist Henni Kervinen and directed by Jenni Kallo, Artistic Director of the renowned Kallo Collective (Only Bones, Edinburgh Fringe 2016). LapinKansa.fi called Helga 'absurd comedy and sparkling wit ', with an Edinburgh Fringe Fest fan hitting the nail on the head with "only the Finns can make humor out of melancholy as fabulously as this. For more, visit kallocollective.com.
Note: Helga is silent, no interpreter needed, making it appropriate for audiences that are deaf or hard of hearing.
The Raveling by Walkabout Theatre From Chicago Sunday, June 2 at 8:30 p.m. and Monday, June 3 at 9 p.m. 60 minutes For ages 14 and up.
As the borders of home are redefined across generations, The Raveling teases apart the threads of heritage, history and hearsay in its cast of co-creators hailing from Chicago, Toronto, and New Delhi. The Raveling is part family fever dream, part fairy tale, and part detective story as the knot of belonging is stretched and pulled across countries and decades of legends, heroes, and misadventures.
Walkabout Theater is a multidisciplinary ensemble committed to a unique practice of theater-making in Chicago. Walkabout produces three streams of programming: free outdoor phenomena focused on community engagement and unique artistic collaborations; world-premiere, touring performances created by the ensemble; and training workshops investigating techniques of co-creation. Radically process-oriented, Walkabout is distinguished by a deep investment in the creation of each ensemble project, in the personal and artistic development of each ensemble artist, and in the cultural and artistic advancement of ensemble practice. For more, visit walkabouttheater.org.