Friday, November 14, 2014

Second City/Hubbard Street Mash Up

Like peanut butter and chocolate. This worked.

The Second City collaboration. It is, in some ways four acts, but all these acts are also a weird sort of love story. There is a main story about love confronting fear and complacency, an improvisation of love (if there is love, or not, or maybe) between random people in the audience. There is strange, awful, weird, but also vibrant office romance, and then…the horror of well, the kind of binding relationships you can get into with people who communicate with you, stranger or no. The intimacy of sharing.

Because it is Hubbard Street it is dance, but not what I expected. If I was thinking that it would somehow be slapstick comedy that would be reminiscent of the Three Stooges, I would have been incorrect. Somehow when I first heard about the Hubbard/Second City mashup I figured it would be something like clownish/slapstick/mime.

It was none of these things.

First, there was dialogue. In a piece I saw last year, Hubbard incorporated dialogue and it was weird, off putting and entirely out of place. It should have been scrapped because it really didn’t contribute to the dance at all. In that show I had decided there was no place at Hubbard for talk. Yet this worked.

The dialogue was well placed, helping to shed light on the choices of the movement, the scene construction. Made the story one that existed because it was communicated in the dance and in words. Yes it was funny, but while being funny it there was this element of the bittersweet as a variety of different characters struggled with a variety of different shortcomings. Where there was weakness in one, the personal failings were filled by strength in their companion.

Strangers who had the wherewithal and compassion to be there, to be open, and to be available for others, and those who gained strength as they continued to progress along a continuum of the play. Where some were willing to take leaps of faith, others were too caught up in fear to take the plunge. It was spectacular and moving, and certainly outdid of all my expectations. Both the Second City actors and Hubbard dancers performed at the of their game, making the show well worth the trip to Chicago. My love picked me up right on time and we drove home, enjoying the quiet of the city at night, NPR on the radio, and the warmth of our hands together as we sped down the Ryan, over the Skyway, and along the lake toward home.

The next day we slept in, had breakfast, and after some tiny turnabouts, I was back on a bus and back on a plane headed back to the other city I call home.



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