Do we really care that the Chicago Humanities Festival this year, of which “Elephant Room” is a feature, has the theme of “What Makes Us Human” and you have to reach to tie this production to the Festival Raison D’être?
Not really. This is as fun a production as you’ll find and if loving fun is what makes us human, then that’s a good enough tie for me.
Three very offbeat comedians present a magic show for children of all ages. Yes, for the youngsters there are bodies floating in the air and those that remain unharmed after being chain sawed, juggling and milk that comes and goes from one place to another magically. On a more adult level there are three men prancing like fly girls, one sweet talking the Dalai Lama, and then another re-enacting a first date with pickup lines like “Yes, I’m married but it’s not really serious.”
For 75 minutes we are participants in an absurdist frolic held in a transported basement from Patterson, New Jersey. The three tricksters—stage names Louie Magic, Dennis Diamond and Daryl Hannah—show us the basics of smoke and mirrors from mentalist tricks to eggs magically appearing in empty hands. Most magic shows would leave the egg trick at that, but in this show it proceeds to making an omelet gobbled on the basement couch and it’s just that kind of extra steps to the absurd that brings out the laughs.
Were those people drawn up on stage just shills? Hmm….That was an awfully plush stuffed Siberian Tiger doll they let her walk off with…hmmm…
And if you use your ticket after the performance to take a look at some of the exhibits in the Museum upstairs—especially the current exhibit of work by Paul Sietsema—you’ll get new eyes to appreciate how playing with perspective to create illusions of 3D objects from 2D paintings is a fun part of how modern art has been evolving for some time.
Upcoming performances of Elephant Room include:
Thu, Nov 7, 7:30 pm
Fri, Nov 8, 7:30 pm
Sat, Nov 9, 7:30 pm
Sun, Nov 10, 3 pm
Sun, Nov 10, 7:30 pm
### Photos by Scott Suchman. Feature photo by Gene Nelms.