Dane Ivan Hansen wants to be your friend. He wants you to know him. To meet this mission, he brings along his friend, Finn Pekka Räikkonen, a kindred clowning mime spirit. Though its barely more than an hour, expect to know him—and love them both—perhaps better than you know most in your address book.
Hansen first cracks open a window on his inner life by telling you about the day his neighbor died, with no small help from Räikkonen whose gymnast kick of the bucket should be the envy of any tragic opera director. Then, with the aid of a way too small globe, Hansen digresses into how improbable his friendship is with a Finn—giving a short course on history and geography that works even for a geographically-challenged American audience that likely can’t find Sweden on a map.
Later, you too may think back on this musing about the improbability of this cross-Norse bonding as a metaphor for the Physical Theater Festival Chicago 2019 as a whole. Pinch yourself Chicagoans—for ten days we get to admire and come to love some of the world’s best fringe fest type talents who bring us into both inner lives and other worlds with their physical theater antics—mime, clowning, and more.
Out of Balanz is--in this writer's view-- storytelling at its best. With relatively few physical props or special effects, Hansen and Räikkonen keep us laughing with their seemingly bottomless sense of play. We follow them to almost drown, fly off our racing bicycles, try and try to catch a fish and more. Along the way we re-discover the boundless optimism of childhood that seems to know no borders, and that any world traveler knows they can find even in the most down and out slum.
Light-hearted but not light weight, Next Door is a lamentation on the imaginary walls that keep us apart. You wouldn’t know there are walls of any sort—fourth, for example—even before the show begins. This writer can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t love and admire this work, other than the morbidly curmudgeon.
The Physical Theater Festival Chicago crowd feels almost tribal. Frequent Chicago performance goers will spot some circus, dance and theater regulars in the crowd. Enthusiasm for the physical theater genre in these surrounds is easier to catch than pink eye.
Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.
Out of Balanz Next Door
Direction: Katrina Bugaj
Performers: Ivan Hansen, Pekka Räikkonen (FIN)
Lights: Teemu Nurmelin (FIN) Costumes: Noora Salmi (FIN) Sound: M.L. Dogg (US)
Concept: Ivan Hansen (DK), Troels Hagen Findsen (DK), Katrina Bugaj (US/DK), Marc Gassot (FIN/FR)
Production: Out of Balanz
JUNE 1 9 PM
JUNE 2 2 PM
1225 W. Belmont
Chicago IL 60657
About the Author: Amy Munice
Amy Munice is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Publisher of Picture This Post. She covers books, dance, film, theater, music, museums and travel. Prior to founding Picture This Post, Amy was a freelance writer and global PR specialist for decades—writing and ghostwriting thousands of articles and promotional communications on a wide range of technical and not-so-technical topics.
Amy hopes the magazine’s click-a-picture-to-read-a-vivid-account format will nourish those ever hunting for under-discovered cultural treasures. She especially loves writing articles about travel finds, showcasing works by cultural warriors of a progressive bent, and shining a light on bold, creative strokes by fledgling artists in all genres.