Theater: ‘Bird Dog Sedition’ Billed as ‘Most Dangerous Play in Chicago’

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CHICAGO – With Chicago’s art gallery district as its conversational and thought-provoking backdrop, the free-thinking “Bird Dog Sedition” is written, directed and performed explicitly to dangerously deconstruct theatrical conventions.

The three actors in the unusual performance are slaves to their scripts and – interestingly – Marrakesh, Rebecca Pyles and Stephanie Schnorbus (who go by their real first names) clearly know it and often admit it. They ask – in fact, warn and even attempt to scare – audiences to heed a strong warning through statements, rituals and revelations geared to shock, mislead and disturb.

Bird Dog Sedition
“Bird Dog Sedition”.
Photo credit: Chuck Przybyl

“Bird Dog Sedition” – which has transformed ROOMS Gallery on Chicago’s south side into a white world of deep-thinking quotations from some of society’s most brilliant minds – attacks normalcy and warns us not to live life thoughtlessly according to the status quo.

Though it’s short (40 minutes), cheap (only 10 bucks) and sometimes feels like it’s trying too hard to hammer home a theme, the play forces busy Chicagoans to take time away from the traffic of our busy way of living to consider some of the strongest, most touchy and most controversial subjects of life including god, religion, spirituality and idealism.

Instead of pushing his own personal politics on you, though, writer and director Todd Frugia merely slathers critical thoughts on a white wall of intrigue without shoving them down your throat so you can do with them what you please.

“Bird Dog Sedition” – titled to incite healthy mental rebellion – also effectively exploits the mechanisms of awkward silence and the ability to act in a moment believably and then immediately switch to remind you they’re only acting. Standing on a pedestal with a blindfold and hands tied is only a metaphor for the bondage that can be our robotic ways.

The play thinks well outside its boundaries – and even opens the front door to consider what’s happening in the real world outside the performance – while being clearly cognizant of how its patrons might react. Some may take to the school of thought that is inspiration while others may feel angry, ambivalent or indifferent.

Either way, we’re begged to “stop! stop! stop!” being a slave to society and wandering around monotonously like sheep without meaning or purpose. While the performance’s own purpose isn’t to answer yours for you, the first step is caring to think about yours yourself.

Frugia bases his “accidental meditation” that is “Bird Dog Sedition” on Sam Shepard who once said: “Plays don’t come from ideas. Ideas come from plays.”

“Bird Dog Sedition” runs through Jan. 26 at ROOMS Gallery at 645 W. 18th St. in Chicago. 7:30 and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets cost $10.

© 2008 Adam Fendelman, editor-in-chief Adam Fendelman

Editor-in-Chief's picture

Go see it

Seriously, just do it. YOu have to.

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