We are standing inside a crime zone.
Watch where you step.
Over there are chalk marks for a body.
Suddenly there’s a roar of bullets, shouts, police calling out and we’re told to move away.
The stage goes black and out comes the cast of Crime Scene: A Chicago Anthology.
For the next 80 minutes Chicago’s trauma of violence unwinds in stories, song, and presentations. It’s a compelling,heart-breaking journey that mirrors unforgettable violent moments in our violence along with calls for help and cries of despair.
The performances by the cast members of the Collaboraction Theater steam onward, building towards a lingering fury. They seem equally brilliant at catching the humanity and power of the moment, but a solo by Lisandra Tena towards the end is one of the most powerful.
Then the show ends and out come the cast again for a long discussion with the audience about what just has been told and what needs to be done to fix Chicago’s violence fix.
It’s an impressive attempt that nightly involves a number of community groups, who take part in the after the performance discussion about solutions.
For more info, http://www.collaboraction.org
The show will be presented until March 10 and then across the city in parks and community centers through the summer and fall.
The performance at the Wicker Park theater marks a unique effort here and maybe nationally at telling the story of violence along while searching for solutions. About 15 Chicago theater companies are involved in Now Is The Time To ACT. http://www.nowisthetimechicago.org/about/now-is-the-time-to-act
For the last few months they have been telling us about how violence in almost every form touches youth.
Coming up is the production of How Long Will I Cry: Voices of Youth Violence by the Steppenwolf Theater Company. Similar to the Collaboraction’s effort, it’s a coming together of voices as collected by DePaul University professor Miles Harvey and his students. The play will be presented from Feb. 26 to March 23 with free performances at five city libraries. http://www.steppenwolf.org
Every one of these events is a story to be told.
So tell us about the audiences’ reactions, the image of Chicago as reflected by the mirror on these stages, and the passion that drives and captures the actors, producers and writers.
And let us know how and why this fits in with the lives we are living right now.
We await your stories.
We are standing inside a crime scene.
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