Chicago Shakespeare Theater Presents
A Free Outdoor Spectacle 200 Feet Above Navy Pier
A Celestial Carillon Speaks to Chicago
Chicago—July 10, 2008—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST), recent recipient of the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award, continues its celebrated World’s Stage Series of international theatrical events with a free outdoor arts spectacle created by France’s Compagnie Transe Express entitled Maudits Sonnants. On Friday and Saturday evenings, July 11 and 12, 2008, a beautiful human carillon will be suspended 200 feet in the air over Gateway Park at Navy Pier. Set against the extraordinary theatrical backdrop of Chicago’s architectural skyline, a telescopic crane will lift a “musical chandelier” adorned with performers who ring bells, beat drums and swing on trapezes above the heads of tens of thousands of Pier visitors. From this impromptu aerial stage, the players speak to the city, charming the awestruck populace below with their music box performance—a celestial sound which will reverberate up and down the shoreline and out across Lake Michigan.
The American premiere of Maudits Sonnants is presented as part of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s
World’s Stage Series, in partnership with and with generous support from the Cultural Services of the French Consulate in Chicago, Alliance Française de Chicago, Étant donnés: The French-American Fund for the Performing Arts and Navy Pier. The Compagnie Transe Express performances will celebrate the French national holiday Bastille Day, commemorating the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on July 14, a symbol of the rise of the modern French nation. Bastille Day is a holiday similar in spirit to America’s 4th of July—replete with revelry, refreshments and fireworks—and this citywide celebration emanating from Navy Pier promises to be the most memorable Bastille Day that Chicago has experienced.
Compagnie Transe Express, founded by Brigitte Burdin and Gilles Rhode, is a 60-member artistic collective residing in Crest, France. Their body of work—which the Company dubs “intervention theater” because of its reliance on playful public interactions common to French street theater traditions—is recognized broadly around the world. Transe Express has performed all over Europe, in Africa, Australia, and now North America, often punctuating major civic gatherings in global cities such as the opening ceremonies before the XVI Olympic Games in Albertville, France.
“Coincident with the announcement of Chicago’s standing as a finalist to host the 2016 Summer Games, Chicago Shakespeare is thrilled our World’s Stage program is able to welcome one of Europe’s leading spectacle theater groups in what should be a magnificent lakefront showcase for our city and its people,” said CST Executive Director Criss Henderson.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater is the premier presenter of international theater artists and companies in Chicago. Under the banner of the World’s Stage Series, CST has hosted many iconic troupes from across the globe; examples include The Abbey Theatre from Dublin, Shakespeare’s Globe from London, the Chekhov International Theatre Festival from Moscow, La Comédie-Française from Paris, the Farber Foundry from South Africa and now Transe Express from Crest, France.
Performances begin each evening at dusk with Compagnie Transe Express parading along Navy Pier’s Dock Street, inviting visitors to join them in Gateway Park. Once assembled at the front of Navy Pier on Friday, July 11 and Saturday, July 12, the aerial performance of Maudits Sonnants will begin around 9:00 p.m. On Saturday evening the Company’s spectacle will culminate with a fireworks display over Lake Michigan.
This is a free event; no tickets are required. For further information visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com/express.
Maudits Sonnants is presented as part of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s World’s Stage Series in partnership with and with generous support from the Cultural Services of the French Consulate in Chicago, Étant donnés: The French-American Fund for the Performing Arts, a program of FACE, Alliance Française de Chicago and Navy Pier.
American Airlines is the official airline of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
ComEd is the official lighting design sponsor of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Programming Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare is made possible through generous support from Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
Artistic productions in the Courtyard Theater are supported, in part, through a generous grant from the McCormick Foundation.