8 Experimental Theater Productions to Experience in Chicago
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.
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.)
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 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.)
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.
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.