In a time of isolation and ambiguity, Trap Door Theatre takes an exciting risk that brings together performers from across the globe. Directed by Michael Mejia and utilizing a virtual platform, Trap Door invited members if its sister company, Trap Door International, to participate in this surreal exploration of sacrifice and liberty.
Trap Door Theatre presents ALAS
Translated by Daniela Șilindean from Matei Visniec’s larger piece Cabaret of Words, ALAS follows a group of individuals who begin to realize that their utopia is less perfect than meets the eye. As they begin to come face to face with their complicity and privilege, they must determine if facing these new truths is worth losing everything they know, and the structures on which their society is based. Utilizing an experimental approach to this virtual offering, Mejia invites viewers to take a step back and examine their own complacency in the societies in which they live.
As a virtual production alone, ALAS, in this writer’s view, takes impressive lengths to create a performance that looks much like a typical Trap Door Theatre offering. Costume and gorgeous make up design – all created by the cast members themselves within their homes— appropriately plays into the abstract, other worldly experience of the piece. While the dystopian society itself feels distant, the fact that the production takes place virtually and shows elements of the actors’ individual homes also adds a familiar feel. Audiences might find that balance invites them to make further connections to the world surrounding them, and even ask further questions about the structures in place that want some change.
It was, at times, hard for this writer to fully grasp the storytelling in the piece. However, if you really gravitate towards experimental and heightened cerebral work, this is certainly the play for you.
Offered virtually through September 24, 2020
Online via video link.
About the Author:
Lauren Katz is a freelance director and dramaturge, and new to the Chicago Theatre Scene. She recently moved from Washington DC, where she worked with Mosaic Theater Company of DC in Company Management, as well as directed around town with various theaters.
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