Tuesday August 22nd 2017

“Rise of the Numberless”

Small theater companies are daring in the material they choose, so it was no surprise to find that two of these companies, BailiwickChicago and The New Colony, both highly energetic performing companies, would come up with a rock opera show about the numberless. Who are the numberless, you may ask? Think back to the “one Child,One Nation” law that was enacted to curb overpopulation,starvation, riots and unhealthy living conditions in China. This musical takes a look at what would happen if this program had been enacted in America and if the second born, those without numbers, somehow escaped death and lived in the under-world, below the surface in their own pods, living off the land and sneaking to our world to steal food and drink.

This is a very intense look at what could happen if a revolt were to take place by those who were shunned by society just for being the second child born. In this case, we have the President, himself , involved as he had a second son who is now a leader to the revolt from below and what transpires in this 90 minutes of very loud rock music is this energetic cast telling us the truth! Written by Patriac Coakley,Andrew Hobgood and Evan Linder, with music by Chris Gingrich and Julie B. Nichols and lyrics by Gingrich with Hobgood , who also directed this unusual performance piece, this is in reaality a play within a play, and I need to explain this to you!

When we arrive at the theater ( Collaboration Studio 300) located in the Flat Iron Arts Building at 1579 N. Milwaukee Avenue ( just South of North Avenue), we are escorted into a dark room with probably 30 folding chairs. There is a large stage area and all of the performers are working on doing things to get the stage ready. They work on lights, check sound, plug and unplug cans with bulbs in them and talk about each other as if they were actors getting ready to put on a show. Part of this IS the show! They are in fact, an acting troupe that truly feels that all we have been told about the “Numberless” is lies and that they do exist and have rights, as they ask the audience to join them in fighting with them in their rebellion.They ask us to enter a new world and to learn from the story they are telling us.

There is even one spot in the production where a helicopter is hovering over the skylight window and all those sitting in this area are escorted out of danger. In fact, and I don’t want to give up any of the surprises in store for you, the entire play or production ends on a note of question. Do we believe what we just saw? Is there any truth to the possibility that something like this could be real? While I would say that this production is probably geared to the questioning minds of the 21-30 year old audience, I feel that there is some nice music in the show ( a bit loud at times, but they do offer earplugs) and there is a chance that this play, since it is newly developed could be reworked into one that could attract larger audiences, I can only somewhat recommend it as it is far to dark and loud for the general theater audiences.

The talent is strong: Aaron Alonso,Kate Carson-Groner,Samantha Dubina,Harmony France,Michael Harnichar,Cameron Johnson,Nikki Klix,Ryan Lanning,Eric Martin,Wes Needham,Steven Perkins,Michael Peters, Danny Taylor and Sheana Tobey- powerful voices and as I said earlier, some of the 11 songs will send chills down your spine. Harmony France shows power in her voice that I have never heard from her before, so if you are into “rock” and enjoy being in a dark almost garage like theater with a beer in hand ( yes, they have complimentary beer) watching a story about “history”, this might be just right for you.

“Numberless” will continue throug May 26th with performances on Fridays and Saturdays ONLY at 7:30 p.m. and then for the real late-nighters at 10 p.m.

Tickets are only $25-$30 ( and with the beer, that may be a bargain) and can be ordered by going online   www.numberless.org

To learn more about these companies and their plans, visit www.thenewcolony.org or www.bailiwickchicago.com

                                                                             

 

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