Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Creative Residency: Lucky Plush Productions with 500 Clown

Jun 25 – Jul 1, 2011

Choreographer Julia Rhoads and director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig are creating a multi-disciplinary work The Better Half. Commissioned by MCA Stage, the artists are in residency for six days in June 2011, and perform the world premiere at MCA Stage October 2011.

The Better Half is set on three dancers from Lucky Plush Productions, including Rhoads, and two performers from 500 Clown, Buxbaum’s acclaimed physical theater company cofounded with Adrian Danzig, who also performs. The dance theater work updates Gaslight, the classic melodrama about a wife’s manipulation by her husband into believing she is insane, for a tale about today’s unhinged partners and their alternative story lines.

This unprecedented collaboration by two of Chicago’s most followed experimental groups builds on Rhoads’ first project at the MCA Stage in 2007, Cinderbox 18. Set for eight dancers from Lucky Plush, in Cinderbox 18, Rhoads explored how cult TV shows and films reflect evolving notions about anxiety, vulnerability, and violence in relationships, and our increasing aptitude for creating personal stories using the latest popular media. She developed it with the company during a five-week residency at the MCA.

In The Better Half, Rhoads is expanding her investigation into popular culture and our social condition by crossing the boundaries between 2011 and the 1880s, the era that sprung the paperback and was flush with socio/psychological literature. Her creative residency provides the unique resources of the MCA theater to work with her collaborators on an original script and movement, and begin to develop lighting, costume, and set design. They are also layering the process structure with unknown variables to increase the level of risk, and harvesting the dancers and actor’s discoveries as they learn and adapt each other’s different techniques.

On the final night of the residency, June 30, join us behind-the-scenes with the artists when they perform excerpts and discuss their work-in-progress.