Ontroerend Goed's

A History of Everything

May 25

June 3, 2012

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare

A World's Stage Production 
created by Ontroerend Goed
and Sydney Theatre Company
text by Alexander Devriendt and Joeri Smet
directed by Alexander Devriendt

Critical Acclaim

“A profound, transcendent work of theater, movement, music and light—a 95-minute piece that gets to the very heart of what it means to be alive. Exquisite in its simplicity and breathtaking in its intellectual and emotional reach,"A History of Everything" may well leave you dazed and changed. Directed with endless ingenuity by Alexander Devriendt, the show is a true masterpiece—a living, breathing work of poetry. It also is funny, playful, sexy, political, historical, lyrical and very close to a religious experience. ”

“Sometimes we go to the theater to be made to feel like we matter. Sometimes it's healthy to go there to be reminded that we really don't matter much at all. It lightens one's load a tad. This substantial "History of Everything" really hits a distinctive stride and finds a surprisingly intense emotional core. The entertaining and strikingly moving production from the very smart, ensemble-based Belgian company that's been a darling of the international festival circuit and has now arrived at CST as part of the indispensable World's Stage program.”

       Every so often, theater audiences get to experience "something special," "something extraordinary" and through CST's marvelous "World’s Stage" program, this year, we are privileged to witness one of the most marvelous theater art pieces I have ever seen. The performers take us to places where we might never have even thought or dreamed to go and illustrate that the universe is far greater than the parts contained in it and by seeing all of this, we, the audience members, realize just how meaningless (and meaningful) our existence is!”

“This wonderful, inspiring show uses the simplest of theatrical techniques to fill us with awe about our place in history, on our planet, in the cosmos. Part of the great pleasure of this show is wondering how they will do the really big events using such simple means. Nothing disappoints. It is all extraordinarily articulate, eloquent and utterly marvellous.”

“It reminds us that there is plenty of room for awe in the scientific account of things. This work is about our wonder at how we have come to be here, on this day.”

     A History of Everything offers us a moment to realise how insignificant, though not worthless, we are. Director Alexander Devriendt and the cast succeed by treating the show's weighty subject matter with a hand-hewn quality. By the beginning of time, it's hard not to feel moved.”

     An awesome, powerful, inspiring work, A History of Everything earns its extraordinary title. With blink-and-you'll-miss-it momentum, director Alexander Devriendt and cast find astonishing pathos and beauty. A moving reminder of the miracle, for want of a better word, of being here at all.”

“Though the play explores our collective history, it is far from a mere history lesson. 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 of the reality of our insignificance.”

“An entertaining romp that engenders awe at the vastness of the universe and our own insignificance within it. ”

“At first it is quite amusing, light-hearted and reflective. It becomes more intense, confronting and somewhat saddening as we are given the opportunity to reflect on our own lives, the ones before ours and in essence, the meaning of life. It is haunting yet calming all at once. It will open your eyes and lead to endless discussions over a glass or two of wine after the show ends.”

“Highly recommended! A History of Everything considers many possibilities and leads the audience into thoughtful consideration of weighty matters. This innovative production somehow manages to do this as gentle entertainment! The cast performs with gravity and integrity when required and humour when appropriate. ”

A History of Everything, seemingly inexplicably, manages to do exactly as advertised. It still seems impossible, inexplicable, and I've seen them do it. There is a sort of peace to be found in fact, in history and evolution, and life as we know it becomes more precious. We really are only here for a moment. We really will disappear into a larger story about the world during our lifetime—so we'd better figure out how to make the most of that speck of time when it's still important, even just to ourselves. It wouldn't be possible to undertake this mammoth task without a little irreverence, and that's exactly what the company delivers.”

      Don't miss A History of Everything! 100 minutes of great creative performance theatre covering 1,000 million years of the existence of the universe. The overall effect is hugely entertaining and often very funny. The writers and director succeed in communicating the ungraspable enormity of what makes this world and reminds us of the unimportance of man and the insignificant time he has been in existence versus the life of the universe. Don't miss this chance for a fun, creative and thought provoking evening.”

      They pull it off—with intelligence, wit and a very satisfying dose of irreverence, allowing us to contemplate our place in the universe, insignificant as it is, and come away uplifted. Celebrates the seemingly limitless capabilities of our imagination and marvels at just how incredible it is that we came to exist at all.

      A startling, thought-provoking piece. A must-see! ”

“It's somehow both more and less complex than it sounds. A careening ride through the history of human society, organic life, tectonic shifts and the birth and expansion of the universe. Fast, kinetic but incredibly thoughtful with beautiful subtlety and wit, it requires feats of precision and grace from the cast. This is a team that's impressive, inventive and fuelled by the fire they find in each other, and what they have to share with the audience is above all a lot of fun. The effect is like standing on a rooftop looking up at the stars: You feel so small. You feel overwhelmed. You feel comforted.”

“It's a seductive idea, thoughtfully extrapolated. There's something oddly awe-inspiring in being reminded we are a universal afterthought. There's also something oddly beatifying about it. A History Of Everything tackles universal themes with grace, reverence, elegance and a kind of homespun charm to which we can all relate.”

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