Inspired by the work of playwright Charles L. Mee and the Walkabout ensemble’s physical training practices, The Wild is the world premiere of a devised laboratory theater performance which confronts distant realities and their infringement on our daily lives.
A montage of images, text, music, sound, dance, movement, and personal material created by the ensemble, The Wild tears apart and re-assembles three texts by Charles L. Mee: The Bacchae 2.1, Global Warming, and Salome. Centered around the exploration of the question of distance, The Wild delves into the relationship between ourselves and the unknown, and the distance between the wild and the civilized being within every person.
The ensemble’s method of devising, like Mee’s work, is dedicated to the opposite sensation of “distance”: seeking to cultivate an immediate and visceral live performance that asks the audience to ingest their experience with their whole self. Each of Mee’s texts exposes an impending chaos that the playwright has drawn from classic stories, inspiring the creation of images, physical movement, scores, original text, live vocals, music, and dance by the ensemble to manifest a world of rising tides, erotic dances, and seductive demi-gods encroaching on an isolated tropical paradise. Live manipulation of vocals and sound effects through looping stations and sound instruments located onstage explore the distancing effect of technology on human expression.
In addition to rehearsing, training, and developing The Wild, which will be produced February-April as part of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Garage Rep program, Walkabout and the ensemble will utilize the HCL residency as an incubator for the next piece, By So Falling, a world-premiere “devised play” by Thom Pasculli. The third project Walkabout would develop at HCL would be Core of the PUDEL, a piece that was created and performed by the ensemble last year, and for which touring performances are currently being arranged. Further workshops will occur before its next performance, as part of the life cycle of the piece and the artistic development of the ensemble.
Walkabout Theater Company is dedicated to the production of original work and arresting theatrical events. We challenge the theatrical form, the architecture in which theater is created, and the capacity to tell a story. Through this active exploration, we seek to engage the audience in new ways that are unusual, innovative and that deepen the connection between the artist and community.
In the past fourteen years, Walkabout Theater has created twenty-four innovative, experimental, and site-specific world premieres in locations across Chicago and in partnership with a diverse range of artistic and organizational partners that include: Lookingglass Theatre; Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Collaboraction; The Vittum Theater; Lucky Plush Dance; Performing Arts Chicago; Chopin Theatre; NeighborSpace; The Hideout; Peter Jones Gallery; Chicago Parks District; Swim Cafe; Garfield Park Conservatory; Piper’s Alley; Museum of Contemporary Art; The Cubby Bear; Grammercy Lounge; ROOMS Gallery in Pilsen; and the Wicker Park/Bucktown Chamber of Commerce with Chicago icons Stuart Dybek and Jon Langford; and most recently Luther Memorial Church in Lincoln Square.
The Wild is directed by Thom Pasculli, with dramaturgy by Kendra Miller, and created by Nigel Brown, McCambridge Dowd-Whipple, Al Evangelista, Cooper Forsman, Katie Mazzini, Kendra Miller, Dana Murphy, Thom Pasculli and Paul Scudder. The creative team for The Wild includes Stephanie Pasculli (scenic design), Delia Baseman (costume design), Sarah Hughey (lighting design), Mikhail Fiksel (sound consultant), Glenn Potter (production manager), Christopher Kristant (technical director), Dina Klahn (production stage manager) and Katie Mazzini (rehearsal stage manager).
Walkabout Theater has been creating new and experimental theater across Chicago since 1999. Its current phase of artistic leadership is developing a resident artistic ensemble. Using a laboratory theater model, the ensemble creates a unique and rigorous practice of actor training, and performances derived from actor-generated material and visceral experience. The process demands the actor establishes a practice that is both personal and communal, creating the opportunity to confront themselves daily as an artist in the presence of an ensemble, engaging with the unknown through their art.
Recently the Walkabout ensemble devised and performed Core of the PUDEL: Gutting the Legend of Faust through the Link Up residency program at Links Hall, which was later produced and performed at Trap Door Theatre in May 2013.