Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents the American Premiere of
A History of Everything
May 22–June 3, 2012
Tickets on sale now
Chicago—April 24, 2012—Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) presents Ontroerend Goed's American premiere of A History of Everything, a CST World's Stage presentation, May 25–June 3, 2012 Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare. Ontroerend Goed takes us from present day all the way back to the Big Bang. Based on evolutionary theory, cosmology and the infinite beauty of the physical world, the company reaches for the ungraspable astronomical history of the universe—in one evening—in their own unique, theatrical way.
The Belgian theater group Ontroerend Goed began in 1994 as a Ghent-based poets' collective of young writers whose founding members were Alexander Devriendt, David Bauwens, Joeri Smet, later joined by Sophie De Somere, forming the core of the ensemble. Ontroerend Goed, a play on words best translated as "Feel Estate," creates intimate, individual performances, as well as larger-scale theatrical plays. Following this double track, the Company explores the boundaries and codes of the performing arts, seeking to open up the medium of theater to the variable expectations and tastes of a global and diverse audience. Ontroerend Goed has received awards and worldwide recognition for its innovative work, including an unprecedented number of Fringe First Awards at Scotland's Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Ontroerend Goed's first breakthrough production came in 2001 with a project which took in the sultry nightclub atmosphere of the Hotsy Totsy bar in Ghent. The Company's The Smile Off Your Face (2004) placed its spectators alone in a wheelchair, blindfolded, and led them around a sensory circuit in which questions about intimacy, love and happiness sparked their imagination. In 2007, the premiere of Internal saw five performers build up a meaningful relationship with five spectators in twenty-five minutes through a combination of speed dating and group therapy. The joyous spectacle, entitled Once And For All We're Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up And Listen, was created and performed by thirteen Belgian schoolchildren, aged 14 to 18. This theatrical distillation of adolescence was the wildfire hit in Edinburgh in 2008, and the production took the international theater festival circuit by storm from 2008 to 2010.
The critical response to their newest work, A History of Everything, a co-production with Sydney Theater Company that premiered earlier this year as part of the Sydney Festival, has further enhanced the company's international reputation: Time Out Sydney said, "A History of Everything earns its extraordinary title...An awesome, powerful, inspiring work."The Australian proclaimed, "Part of the great pleasure of this show is wondering how they will do the really big events...the invention of agriculture, the movement of the human race out of Africa, the age of dinosaurs, the formation of the solar system. Nothing disappoints. It is all utterly marvelous..." Adding to the universal acclaim, the New Scientist says, "Even the most knowledgeable audience member will be enticed by the artistry with which the Earth's story is told...It is a humbling portrait of how modern humans came to be, and a playful exposition on the reality of our insignificance."
Directed by theater-maker Alexander Devriendt, the cast members of A History of Everything include: Charlotte De Bruyne, Zindzi Okenyo, Tahki Saul, Joeri Smet,Matthieu Sys, Angelo Tijssens and Nathalie Verbeke. The text has been written by Alexander Devriendt and Joeri Smet in collaboration with the cast, and with fragments ofSum by David Eagleman. The scenography and costumes are by Sophie De Somere.
Tickets for Chicago Shakespeare's presentation of A History of Everything, Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, are on sale now for $35–45. Performances are May 25–June 3: Tuesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 3:00 and 7:30 p.m.: Sunday at 3:00 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater's website at www.chicagoshakes.com. Most enjoyed by ages 12 and up.
A History of Everything is produced by Ontroerend Goed, Sydney Theatre Company, Drum Theatre Plymouth, Richard Jordan Productions, Ltd., and Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam in association with Sydney Festival.
ABOUT THE WORLD'S STAGE SERIES
Chicago Shakespeare's presentation of Ontroerend Goed is emblematic of the wide scope of work presented through the World's Stage Series—a program that brings the world's most exciting theatrical events to Chicago audiences and presents Chicago Shakespeare's work abroad. Since the inception of the World Stage Series in 2000, CST has imported international productions ranging from pedestrian-based live art events (Australia's one step at a time like this) to grand aerial and water spectacles (France's Compagnie Transe Express and Ilotopie); and hosted iconic theaters such as Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (London), The Abbey Theatre (Dublin), the Chekhov International Theatre Festival (Moscow) and La Comédie-Française (Paris). As a leading cultural ambassador, Chicago Shakespeare has presented its work at the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Donmar Warehouse and Stratford East theatres; and this spring, will be among the 37 international companies that come together for an unprecedented 37-play "Globe to Globe" festival for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Chicago Shakespeare, representing North America, brings to London's Globe Theatre an original CST commission and world premiere, The Q Brothers' Othello: The Remix, presented in American hip-hop.
ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary this season, Chicago Shakespeare Theater is a leading international theater company, known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare's genius for intricate storytelling, musicality of language and depth of feeling for the human condition. Recipient of the 2008 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Chicago Shakespeare's work has been recognized internationally with three of London's prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards, and by the Chicago theater community with 62 Joseph Jefferson Awards for Artistic Excellence. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to producing extraordinary classic productions, new works and family fare; unlocking Shakespeare's work for educators and students; and serving as Chicago's cultural ambassador through its World's Stage Series.