Lucky Plush’s latest devised dance theatre work is set at the intimate 1700 Theatre at Steppenwolf and every seat is the best seat in the house, allowing the audience to be fully encapsulated into the experience. The stage is bare, the lighting by Alexander Ridgers creates rooms on the stage pairing to the theme of the show.
Rooming House begins with an intimate conversation among friends, slipping easily between Spanish and English, as they recall stories of people who’ve taken actions with potentially devastating costs. When the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is mentioned, varied interpretations propel the group into a physically and psychologically complex game of whodunit, taking them down a rabbit hole into the lives of everyday people who do extraordinary things—from life endangering rescues, to defecting from Cuba, to letting go of someone you love.
Rooming House was co-created by founder and artistic director Julia Rhoads and collaborating director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig (formerly of 500 Clown). Playful and personal, the work synthesizes contemporary dance and theater to create a dynamic blueprint for exploring the question: what makes a person do something that could have life changing consequences?
Rooming House uses the classes board game, CLUE to structure the dance theatre work but instead of “the parlor” they replaced it with “the back story.” The characters are the dancers who all have a story to share.
As the story of Orpheus and Eurydice is told, everyone relates to a section of the story which then spiral into them sharing. Cast members go for more, asking for a “back story.” No matter where a person is in life, everyone has a story to share.
The piece is performed by ensemble members Kara Brody, Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Elizabeth Luse, Rodolfo Sánchez Sarracino, Aaron R. White and Meghann Wilkinson who flow together seamlessly between dancing and acting. The cast is beautiful to watch with their athleticism which makes dance exciting to watch, their artistic deconstructing of a story and collaboration long in the works.
The debut of Rooming House at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre is part of LookOut, Steppenwolf’s new multi- genre performance series, presenting a wide variety of genres and shows, from dance to live music to spoken word and beyond, from a diverse array of voices, emerging and established alike.
Lucky Plush and Steppenwolf LookOut Series
“Lucky Plush Productions deeply values creating a welcoming relationship between stage and audience, delivering relatable content without compromising complexity. Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre is an ideal venue to create this intimate relationship, and we are incredibly excited to being one of the first dance events on its intimate stage as part of Steppenwolf’s LookOut series,” said Lucky Plush Artistic Director and Rooming House co-creator Julia Rhoads. This is an exciting new addition onto the Chicago live theatre scene. The 1700 Theatre is located immediately behind Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks, the company’s 2,500 square ft. café & bar. Stay after for a drink and talk about the show.
Photos: Alan Epstein
Now through November 18
Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m.
Sundays at 4 p.m.
Steppenwolf 1700 Theater
1700 North Halsted Street
About the Author:
Ellyzabeth Adler is a multidisciplinary artist working in the genre of "Tanztheatre," weaving together theatre, dance, film, spoken word, and music. As founder of Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble (CDE) she has dedicated herself to forming partnerships with artists of all genres and generations to create unique, dynamic, engaging, and meaningful ensemble performances.Ellyzabeth earned a BFA in Performing Arts, with a minor in Broadcast Journalism at Roosevelt University. In 2000 she earned a Masters of Arts in Directing and Movement; as her thesis she developed CDE’s techniques for creating multidisciplined, kinesthetic, and socially engaging theatre. She has created and/or collaboratively adapted, directed and choreographed 10 full-length works including: T.S Eliot’s The Wasteland; Ever Your Own; Edgar; The Yellow Wallpaper; This Is Not A Pipe; Bindis and Bruises; and Touch and Mirrors - one-act plays based on the work of the Persian poet, Rumi. She has also created and choreographed over a dozen concert-length works focused on women’s issues, the female body, suicide, the human condition, and pathways to enlightenment.
For more stories about dance by dancers and choreographers read - CHOREOGRAPHERS' EYES - DANCERS EXPLAIN DANCE.
You can also read more Picture this Post reviews by Ellyzabeth Adler here.
Learn more about dance by seeing dance through dancers eyes in the Picture This Post series, “Choreographers’ Eyes - Dancers Explain Dance”. Watch this video preview of the story here—