Small and nestled among low-rise office and light industrial red brick buildings just west of the Metra tracks, StrawDog Theater is the optimal setting for this emerging troupe. The minute you enter the space, you feel the rawness, a precursor to The Whisper Theatre Collective performances of Wild Women, and The Oneironauts.
Dreams of The Whisper Theatre Collective Are Seductive
As the second act begins, the stage is cleared, performers dressed in black coveralls enter front and back doing slow shoulder rolls until five collect mid-stage. According to the program notes, Oneironauts (dream walkers), is our invitation to engage with The Whisper Theatre Collective on a deeper level, as they dare us to face the unknown. For 45 minutes, the performers pull us into their world of physical expression, an empty stage about 300 square feet, where they twist, bend, leap, somersault, prance, and recline. There is eerie background music, sometimes coordinated to the troupe’s vocalizations. The focus is the movement; it does not stop. The complex and difficult chorography is spot on, with nary a misstep. This reviewer was drawn into their tightly coordinated, ephemeral dream world.
This production is especially recommended for fans of physical theater who follow the cutting edge--emerging artists and companies.
Another work presented in this performance was an unusual female take on buffoonery. Google “women buffoons” and there are no links. Dig into the Top 20 Buffoons and the only, and outstanding one, is Amy Sedaris. This piece-- Wild Women-- is virgin territory in which the three female buffoons don’t hold back. It’s raucous, fast-paced, and over the top. In this reviewer’s opinion, this is a new performance genre for women, and though it struck as not quite perfected it is perhaps a genre that deserves to be explored. Clearly, The Whisper Theatre Collective has the guts to do this.
The next stop for The Whisper Theatre Collective is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.
RECOMMENDED for fans of emerging artists and physical theater companies.
Wild Women performances are by Claire Kaplan, Fate Richey and Gabrielle Wilson, who are also co-creators; Brittany Price Anderson is director.
Oneironauts performances are by: Ben Heustess, Brittany Price Anderson, Fate Richey, Gabrielle Wilson, Richie Schiraldi, who is also Director.
For more information, check The Whisper Theatre Facebook page.
Photos courtesy of Whisper Theatre Collective
Reviewer Ann Boland is committed to Chicago theater. Involved in the audience since the early 80’s, she’s witnessed firsthand the rise of our theater scene, our exceptional local talent, and the vigor of each new generation. Ann handles public relations for authors and works on programs to help seniors with neurological movement disorders. Please visit her website for more information.
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