Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

The Headphones Tour



DePaul University Theatre School alum Adam Simon and student Rob Cohn offer a novel approach to site-specific performance with this cheerful, whip-smart audio tour through the Chicago Cultural Center. As performers enact rituals of birth, marriage, and death in this landmark's sleepy nooks and crannies, Simon and Cohn's recorded narrative returns us to the building's history, urging us to marvel at its architecture. Sketching out in broad strokes the underlying theme of human development, The Headphones Tour allows participants (touring in groups of six) to piece together the details of a larger story through snippets of overheard conversations and mysterious interactions. The most unusual portions of this 30-minute excursion encourage blatant voyeurism, as when we're instructed to examine the sea of letters surrounding a solitary figure banging away at an antique typewriter. The execution is wonderful considering the difficulties posed by integrating prerecorded audio and live performance, and Simon and Cohn have set a fine pace that keeps the sights and sounds from losing potency. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington (enter at 77 E. Randolph), 312-744-5270. Monday, February 23, with tours leaving every 15 minutes beginning at 7 PM. Free, but reservations required; participants must present current state ID for headphone rental.

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