Site Unseen | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Site Unseen

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Hospital wards are terrifying places, as anyone who's spent time in them knows. Unfortunately for director Kairol Rosenthal, she has. And when she and dancer Asimina Chremos were scouting out the Chicago Cultural Center's nooks and crannies to create a piece for "Site Unseen," an evening of site-specific performances and installations, the sterile yet dingy industrial kitchen behind Preston Bradley Hall reminded them of hospitals. Chremos is the work's virtual soloist, playing Patient X, though there are also two male orderlies and a female receptionist who ushers the audience in and seats them on risers so they look down slightly on the performance area--a metal table. Chremos and Rosenthal (who also worked together on Substage, presented in a basement dressing room for last spring's PAC/edge festival) say that they're intrigued by performances in tiny spaces: as Rosenthal points out, the audience must feel "invited in" without feeling confronted. Orderly will be shown on the hour to just six people at a time; sign up outside the kitchen on the Cultural Center's third floor. Monument: Bodies on Foreign Soil is an installation/performance piece by Dolores Wilber and Julie Laffin being presented in G.A.R. Hall and the G.A.R. Annex, with its spooky lighting through translucent tiles in the floor. The work includes striking visuals: a few live trees, complete with roots, propped upright and lots of army blankets laid out in rows on the annex floor, each with a delicate photograph of body parts--belly buttons, fingers, toes, thighs--on top. The evening, curated by Laffin, also includes Disclaimers, a sound installation by M.W. Burns on the steps of the Randolph Street entrance; musician Aimee Lee's interactive Tracks, taking place in Preston Bradley Hall; Adam Simon and Rob Cohn's The Headphone Tour, first presented at the Cultural Center last February; and Debra and Dave Tolchinsky's video installation in the elevators, Going Up, which shows a dachshund growing and shrinking. Wed 11/17, 6-9 PM. Guided tours leave the Randolph Cafe every half hour from 6-8:30 PM. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630 or TTY 312-744-2947. Free

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