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8 Experimental Theater Productions to Experience in Chicago

July 19, 2016 by Constance Fred
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Theater’s pretty old, y’all.  It emerged sometime in Greece during the 6th century BCE and continues to flourish today. But since that’s a long time, people keep finding ways to shake it up.

Here’s a small sampling of some experimental theatre experiences (not plays) you can find around Chicago.  Leave your preconceptions at the door.

Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind


By turns hilarious, political, and heartwarming, The Neo-Futurists’ weekly masterpiece (and Chicago’s longest-running show!) showcases a constantly rotating 30 short plays in 60 quick minutes.



Hosted every Monday night at Ukrainian Village’s Beauty Bar, Salonathon is a home for “underground, emerging, and genre-defying art!” Pro tip: Beauty Bar has a $10 martini/manicure deal every night. (Literally. Every. Night.)

The Fly Honey Show

Fly Honey Show

A big, glorious, unhinged, feminist, sex-and-body-positive burlesque show produced every summer by The Inconvenience at the Chopin Theatre, and featuring many local performance artists.  Bring a handkerchief to dab your forehead, dear, it’s gonna get hot.

Bite: A Pucking Queer Cabaret


Bite is Pride Films and Plays Artistic Associate Derek Van Barham’s immersive, pop-rock ode to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Mary’s Attic will be filled with music, dance, and fairies of all kinds, as Bite retells one of the Bard’s beloved love stories through a queer lens. So, take a bite out of that!



This annual “dance party/performance art/spectacle” is an immersive experience that features the work of many local performance artists and seeks to “convert” its audiences. Proceed with caution. (JK, it’s really fun and wonderful.)

Honey Pot Performance

Honey Pot

Catch this “creative Afro-diasporic feminist collaborative” at various events around the city.  They perform around themes of “identity, belonging, and difference,” all through a non-Western lens.

Runaways Theatre Lab


A young theatre company that produces mostly site-specific work “stripped to basic carnal and emotional experiences” around various Chicago neighborhoods. Their last show? Doing Drugs and Dying in Space. :O



A new drag performance collective featuring Wanda Screw, Lucky Stiff, and Samantha de la Piscine. These queens create immersive experiences that blur gendered lines and bring the catharsis hard.