Theater Unspeakable presents The American Revolution Review - American History Comes to Life

In 2010, Theater Unspeakable began in Chicago as a platform for creating physical, devised theater. What that means is that the company employs improvisation, movement, and voice, to create original shows which tour around Chicago and nationally. Although their work is based strongly in the theater teachings of the French actor and mime Jacques Lecoq, the company still promotes a very American approach to their storytelling.  Since it was founded, Theater Unspeakable has created three original shows: Superman 2050, Murder on the Midwest Express, and The American Revolution.  The company is currently working on a new piece called Moon Shot.

Washington Crossing The Delaware - Photo Courtesy of Theater Unspeakable

 

Theater Unspeakable’s The American Revolution presents an important chapter of American history in 50 minutes. Using only their bodies, voices, a handful of pantomimed cannons, and what they refer to as “a dash of derring-do,” seven actors sharing only 21 square feet of space two feet off the ground recreate a critical time period in American history: the American fight for independence from Lexington to Yorktown.  Along the way, the audience is introduced to – among others – George and Martha Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and a very limber King George III.  In addition, we learn how Washington became the first President of the United States, and why the Sons of Liberty dumped Britain’s tea into “Bahston Hahbah.”

George and Martha Washington - Photo Courtesy of Theater Unspeakable

 

“I was really drawn to the American Revolution,” explains Theater Unspeakable’s Artistic Director Marc Frost, “because I wanted to, in this moment of partisanship and lack of “reaching across the aisle,” go back and see how people…from different political approaches came together and created something that is still with us today.”

Benjamin Frankin tries to gain France's Support against the British - Photo Courtesy of Theater Unspeakable

 

The intimate 144-seat Lovelace Studio Theater at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is the perfect venue for this small-scale production because it puts the audience close to the actors which allows them to see the performers’ facial expressions and subtle body movements – with the exception of John Hancock’s larger-than-necessary signature on the Declaration of Independence, of course.  In addition, with each actor portraying several historical figures – as well as both British and American soldiers, horses, a few sailing vessels, and the American flag – the audience can appreciate the technical skill required for the seven bodies to deftly maneuver around the confined space of the 7x3-foot platform.

The actors perform on a 21-square-foot platform - Photo Credit Samantha Davis-Friedman

 

While this production is certainly educational, it is also extremely entertaining, which makes it a great way to expose kids to information about the American Revolution while still keeping them engaged.  At the same time, there is tongue-in-cheek humor and modern cultural references that adults in the audience will appreciate, making this the perfect theater experience for everyone in the family. Parents should note, however, that the running time is 50 minutes with no intermission, and the production is recommended for ages 6 and older.

Parents and kids can enjoy the production together - Photo Credit Samantha Davis-Friedman

 

Performances of The American Revolution are at Noon and 2:30pm on October 2nd, 8th, and 9th in The Lovelace Studio Theater at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts located at 9390 N. Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills - Photo Credit Samantha Davis-Friedman

 

 

 

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