"The Dream" Preview- The Chicago Philharmonic and Visceral Dance Chicago on March 5, 2017 at The Harris Theater

Chicago Philharmonic Joins Forces with Visceral Dance Chicago For a Striking Reimagining of Dostoyevsky’s “The Dream”


Conductor Scott Speck and the Chicago Philharmonic; photo by Elliot Mandel

  The Chicago Philharmonic, Visceral Dance Chicago, and award- winning choreographer Nick Pupillo will unite on March 5, 2017, at The Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive, Chicago, to tell the story of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man.” This journey of redemption and renewal is performed to a background of remarkably diverse music chosen by The Chicago Philharmonic ranging from Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich to Ennio Morricone and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood.

The Chicago Philharmonic took a very active role in creating this project along with Visceral Dance Chicago. This has been a true collaboratiive effort from it's inception. 

One hour prior to the performance, Robert Bird, author of “Dostoyevsky”, Reaktion Books, London, 2012, and Associate Professor,  Department of  Slavic Languages and Literatures, The University of Chicago, will give a talk about Dostoyevsky’s work. This theatrical convergence of music, dance and literature is not to be missed.


Visceral Dance Chicago; the company in rehearsal for "The Dream"


Dance Rehearsal and Interview with Nick Pupillo, Artistic Director, Visceral Dance, Chicago

On February 23, 2017, this reviewer had the delightful opportunity to observe the company run through the dance, sans Philharmonic, to recorded music, and discuss the piece with Nick Pupillo. I had just reread “The Dream of a Ridiculous Man’, by Fyodor Dostoevsky. The music and the choreography were especially evocative of the Russian mentality- passionate, complex, intensely self-aware, obsessive. The opening movements, during which Brandon Coleman poignantly portrays the protagonist struggling with himself were particularly compelling. He is a man caught in the grips of an agitated depression- a very dangerous mind-set.

When the man who fears he is ridiculous rises from his chair and walks about, flanked by the troupe in hats and overcoats, meeting the young girl who is at once his familiar, his guardian angel, his icon of protection, it felt as though I were watching a scene in mid- nineteenth century St. Petersburg. It seemed I was part of the foot-traffic on Nevsky Prospekt, where one could meet anyone at all or remain anonymous.


Visceral Dance Chicago rehearses "The Dream"

The dream sequence is startlingly beautiful, filled with realization and longing. The women in the troupe are destiny’s characters, luring Brandon on to an ultimate cleansing, faces suffused and rapt. The male dancers are strong and secure, partnering easily, providing continuity and completing the Utopic vision. As I watched, Pupillo sketched for me in words the finalized accouterments- his choice of music, lights, his signature use of drapery, costumes. The studio itself, black walls and floor, provided the perfect backdrop for my mind’s eye. This is a strong and non-linear tale told in superlative movement; like all of Dostoevsky’s work, it reaches an ultimate catharsis/transcendence.

The audience is in for a rare treat- a great orchestra very skilled at performing the Russian composers, of which there will be an abundance- and an equally fine dance company presenting their vision of a masterpiece.


Visceral Dance Chicago in rehearsal for "The Dream"

                                                                 "THE DREAM"

Sunday, March 5, 2017, 3:00 pm
, The Harris Theater, 205 E Randolph St, Chicago IL;  Performance Time: Approximately 1 hour

Scott Speck, conductor; Nick Pupillo, choreographer; Robert Bird, lecturer

The Chicago Philharmonic's Scott Speck conducting while Visceral Dance Chicago's Brandon Coleman dances

Music: Dmitri Shostakovich: “Symphony No. 8 in C minor”, Op. 65, Mvt 1; Osvaldo Golijov: “Mariel”; 
Jonny Greenwood: “Oil” from “There Will Be Blood”; 
Dmitri Shostakovich: “Chamber Symphony”, Op. 110a, Mvt. 2
; John Cage: “Dream”; 
Sergei Rachmaninoff: “Vocalise”; 
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: “Elegy” from “Serenade for Strings”; 
Heitor Villa-Lobos: “Aria “from “Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5”; 
Minoru Miki: “Time for Marimba”; 
Jonny Greenwood: “Proven Lands and Future Markets” from “There Will Be Blood”;  Thom Yorke: “Creep”; 
Dmitri Shostakovich: “String Quartet no. 8,” Mvt. 3; Allessandro Marcello: “Adagio from Oboe Concerto in D minor”; 
Ennio Morricone: “Gabriel’s Oboe” from “The Mission”


Brandon Coleman and Noelle Kayser; Visceral Dance Chicago

For information and tickets to “The Dream” and all the fine performances by The Chicago Philharmonic and Visceral Dance Chicago, go to www.chicagophilharmonic.org and www.visceraldance.com


Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Nick Pupillo



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