Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-09-19
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



THEATER Looking for a fight: Art as disruption in 'Seven Fights'
by Mary Shen Barnidge

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

"Have you ever punched anyone in the face?" an actor—coincidentally, the biggest on the stage—asks the audience at the start of the show A Story Told in Seven Fights, his query quickly followed by, "Have you ever wanted to punch somebody in the face?"

This is not a frivolous question, since one of the three stories promised in the title is that of Gilded Age Swiss playboy Arthur Cravan. Not content with the notoriety arising from his familial connection to the scandal-besieged Oscar Wilde ( married to Cravan's aunt Constance ), the incorrigible bad boy cultivated a public image based in the exaggerated masculinity associated with exotic foreign cultures like our own Wild West, proclaimed in spontaneous displays of pugilism and even going so far as a boxing match with the African-American heavyweight champion Jack Johnson.

Such Rimbaudian audacity inevitably drew the attention of experimental artists also bent on unsettling what they deemed a status quo in need of a good punch in the you-know-what. These rebels included the Dadaists and the Surrealists, whose progress—under the self-appointed leadership of, respectively, Tristan Tzara and Andre Breton—was rendered divisive from its very outset by the inevitable dissent characterizing ideologies predicated on the rejection of reason and order.

The third story finds its inspiration in a faction almost bereft of textual reference: the Italian Futurists, whose manifesto confers permission on the play's performers, as well as the personae, to express their opinions on the topics under discussion. Since the ensemble for this Neo-Futurist production encompasses a diversity of genders and ethnicities, this ensures a variety of observations on the concept of provocation as art, the boundaries of that provocation and the propensity of angry youth to embrace the former before coming up against the latter.

"The world that artists occupied at the beginning of the 20th century is very similar to ours," said Trevor Dawkins, credited in the playbill as the play's author, "Their response to tumultuous changes in Europe and North America was to assume increasingly radical positions regarding their role in society. This, in turn, affected how they engaged with one another."

Director Tony Santiago concurred, saying, "How often do we hear people say 'Fight for what you believe in!'—but what does that mean? We wanted to explore what makes people turn to violence, when words aren't enough, and whether, in fact, that moves us closer to our goals, or farther away."

Don't come expecting a stunt-show, though, warned fight choreographer Gaby Labotka, who told Windy City Times, "The conversation is about art as disruption, and our stage combat is merely the vehicle for that conversation." She cited, as an example, a fight scene depicting the premiere of the Ballets Russes Romeo et Juliette in 1926, where the costumes and scenery were designed by surrealist artists Joan Miro and Max Ernst, but was interrupted when Andre Breton and his cohorts, who disapproved of their modern art being employed in service of what they felt was a bourgeois capitalist venture, proceeded to create such a disturbance that the production had to be stopped.

So what is Dawkins' purpose in resurrecting these historical events? "I think there are valuable lessons for us, today, to be learned from looking at groups trying to solve a common problem with conflicting strategies. What actions—inciting riots, attacking strangers on the street—are likely to succeed in bringing about the paradigm shift we want, and which ones are doomed to failure?"

The question that Labotka felt we need to ask ourselves was "Why were artists and audiences of that time so ready to fight, compared to now? What changed?"

A Story Told in Seven Fights runs through Saturday, April 7, at 5153 N. Ashland Ave. For further information, contact 773-878-4557 or .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

FALL THEATER PREVIEW Multicultural world premieres dot fall theater season 2018-09-19 - "Yo, what's up, white people?" chirps a character in the first minutes of Qui Nguyen's Vietgone [running at Writers Theater through Sept. 23], ...

Gay News

The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? 2018-09-19 - Playwright: Edward Albee At: Interrobang Theatre Project at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave. Tickets: $32; 312-219-4140. Runs through: Oct. 6 ...

Gay News

Crime and Punishment 2018-09-19 - Playwright: Chris Hannan, adapted from Dostoevsky At: Shattered Globe Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: 773-975-8150;; $39. Runs through: ...

Gay News

Tangles and Plaques 2018-09-19 - Playwright: Kirsten Riiber At: The Neo-Futurists at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave. Tickets: $10-25;; 773-878-4557. Runs through: Sept. 29 ...

Gay News

Critics' Pics 2018-09-19 - Radio Golf, Court Theatre, through Sept. 30. A gifted cast and director bring power to August Wilson's final play, concerning African-American upward mobility ...

Gay News

Little Shop of Horrors 2018-09-19 - Playwright: Alan Menken ( composer ), Howard Ashman ( book and lyrics ). At: Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. ...

Gay News

Scraps 2018-09-19 - Adapted by Anthony Whitaker At: The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets: $25;; 773-935-6875. Runs through: Sept. 29 One ...

Gay News

FALL THEATER PREVIEW Checking out the LGBTQ lineup 2018-09-19 - From world premieres to revivals of old favorites, the fall season offers a complex lens on LGBTQ stories. Some draw inspiration from past ...

Gay News

UrbanTheater to start 'Not for Sale' Sept. 21 2018-09-19 - UrbanTheater Company ( UTC ) kicks off its "lucky 13th" season with the world premiere of GuadalÃs del Carmen's play Not for Sale—UTC's ...

Gay News

FALL THEATER, 'Destinos' theme is lifelong journey for founder Myrna Salazar 2018-09-19 - Think Rita Moreno mixed with your favorite world-traveler aunt who brings you trinkets from far-away lands and mesmerizes you with stories of intrigue ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.