Sunday, September 20, 2015

Core Project Chicago at Elgin Fringe Festival

With a piece that could be subtitled "Allergy Season," "Clean and Dirty," or "Hard Core Campfire," Core Project Chicago presented "<=2" at the 2015 Elgin Fringe Festival.

Ostensibly a collection of short performances related by their similar durations (less than or equal to, but not more than 2 minutes), a cast of recurring characters and themes provided unexpected synergy.

Core Project Chicago performs at the 2015 Elgin Fringe Festival.
A busy bee, a naked accordionist and a janitor played under fair and gray skies as a continuous series of comedic skits tumbled across the stage, punctuated by interludes of dance, in a collage of "found concepts."

A thread of bees, pollen, sneezing and nose-wiping connected with sweeping, washing, and soiling again, like scenes from a childhood summer camp. Zany contests involving audience members added a "talent show" quality, and occasional bullying and snarky on-stage banter showed that even rehearsals can be a performance object.

Though campfire skits may not be among the classic forms or archetypes, they are a language that speaks to everyone, and it reminds us that at some level, imaginative play is the essence of all art.

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