Chicago Humanities Festival Blog

Light, Shadow, and Joy: Nori Sawa’s Puppet Theater
By Sarah Arehart, University of Chicago Center for East Asian Studies The first thing you’ll notice about Nori Sawa is that he breaks the rules of traditional theater. In Fairy Tales, he breaks all of them, in 55 minutes. Nori is a master of figural theater. Where a puppeteer operates characters from the shadows, Nori steps into the spotlight. He manipulates and is manipulated by his puppets, sometimes becoming a character in the story himself. He also... Continue Reading >>
Shakespeare for One
A classically trained actress walks into a theatre and decides to play all of the characters in King Lear herself. Impossible, you say? It is possible and we’re bringing it to Chicago’s audiences at this year’s Stages, Sights & Sounds festival in May. It’s a performance that will change the way you think about Shakespeare. In this rendition by Susanna Hamnett, the story is not only poignant and tragic, but also gentle, mischievous, and funny. Yes, you read that correctly.... Continue Reading >>
The Man of Steel Goes to Gotham
By Marc Frost, Artistic Director of Theater Un•Speak•Able Stepping into Times Square on a cold January evening felt close to otherworldly—especially knowing I was going to perform there later that night. I emerged from the subway to find myself in the bright hue of so many LCD screens I could have mistaken the night for day. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but Times Square merits a few million. And there I was—nervous as you-know-what; it was... Continue Reading >>
Marina Abramovic: Total Presence
It’s not often that I find myself sitting in church and loving every minute of it. Actually, having grown up Jewish and secular at that, I don’t find myself in church much at all. Sure, there’s the occasional wedding, to say nothing of the conscientious traipsing through the various instantiations of Europe’s ecclesiastical culture. But the fact remains: church is not really me. Well, that might change after the transcendent experience I had at First United Methodist Church at... Continue Reading >>
Marina Abramovic: The Space Between
Working in the region of the Former Yugoslavia for the past 15 years, I had heard of Marina Abramović, but never had the opportunity to see her work. But little could prepare me for the extent of both my pleasure and disappointment when I finally went to see the exhibition mounted by MoMA in spring of 2010. For many of us doing research in the region, in the wake of the violence and devastation of the 1990s, Abramović represented a different version of Yugoslavia:... Continue Reading >>
Reading Etgar Keret in Chicago
For an Israeli reader, an encounter with Etgar Keret in English – or, for that matter, in any language other than Hebrew – is a rather strange experience. In fact, for an Israeli reader, writing about Etgar Keret in any language other than Hebrew is a strange experience. Yet, information keeps coming: Etgar (us Israelis tend to skip last names, we do not believe in formalities) is the most popular writer in Poland, in Australia, in Japan; a story of his is published in the New Yorker.... Continue Reading >>
Saying Big Things: The Art of Etgar Keret
Etgar Keret says very big things about very small worlds. There is an irony in this, because to say big things, big and true things, one must be a genius of some sort. Especially, if these big and true things are at once both strangely original and artfully rendered, Keret says things in this way. The irony, such as it is, stems from his decision, or tendency, to couch the big within the small, to assign his particular genius or vision to the startling illumination of compact worlds. There's... Continue Reading >>
Stages, Sights & Sounds 2012
We all know that Chicago is an international city. From its diverse neighborhoods to the wealth of world-class cultural programming, I can’t think of a better home for Stages, Sights & Sounds, an international performing arts festival for families and theatregoers of any age. The work we showcase pushes the boundaries of traditional theatre and performance. Work for young audiences should push boundaries; after all, isn’t that what childhood is about?  This year’s festival is our thirteenth... Continue Reading >>

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