ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar
Laughing Stock Theatre Presents
Over My Dead Body; Or, How to Distribute Generational Wealth
Nov. 3-Dec. 4 at Chicago’s Athenaeum Center
A show for all ages and eras, Renaissance Italy comes to 21st Century Chicago in this modern interpretation of the classical commedia dell’arte titled Over My Dead Body; Or, How To Distribute Generational Wealth. Directed by acclaimed Italian director and educator Antonio Fava (from Scuola Internazionale dell’Attore Comico -International School of the Comic Actor in Reggio Emilia, Italy), Laughing Stock Theatre’s skilled commedia actors take on family dynamics and the challenges of capitalism in their newly devised show.
Tomorrow is the wedding of Flaminia and Fulgenzio, but that can wait because today is Pantalone’s birthday. His family and friends plan a surprise to celebrate, but Pantalone mistakes their actions as a plot to kill him! He decides to fake his own death and leave everything to himself... but his family and friends have other ideas. His friends, family, and even a dashing stranger squabble over the various “true” wills they produce, all while being “haunted” by the ghost of Pantalone. Hijinks ensue, but their hilarious and dramatic antics will return to the status quo in the end.
Director Fava, who traveled from Italy to direct this American show, finds something anachronistic and relatable in the modern conundrums the plot produces, saying that the show is “an original, timeless, yet concretely human comedy. In Comedy there is no struggle between Good and Evil, there is instead the struggle for survival, between people…the urgency of a problem… love, money, hunger, or fear. In short, normal people…and the aim is to make the public spend two pleasant hours. Comedy has been doing this for five centuries.”
Producer Aaron Quick says “Laughing Stock is excited to bring one of the world’s foremost scholars and practitioners of the Commedia, our own dear friend and educator, to direct this show straddling the line between classic and modern, comic and dramatic, European and American.”
Quick describes the enduring significance of Commedia dell’Arte framing in their storytelling,“Commedia dell’Arte is often taught as a stepping stone to ‘serious theatre’, but Laughing Stock has dedicated itself to showcasing the modernity it encompasses.” They do this, says Quick, by highlighting the connection between Commedia’s rise in popularity right along with modern capitalism’s influence on society, demonstrating the allure and the absurdity of the enduring eco-system and archetypes remaining the same after all of these years. As a result, Quick says, “The Commedia never died but keeps being relevant.”
Join Laughing Stock Theatre in November for this living demonstration of a theater form that is as hilarious as it is timeless.
Director, Antonio Fava; Lighting and Sound Design, Aaron Quick; Costume Design, Jennifer Mohr; Scenic Design, Claire Hart Proepper.
Performers- Claire Hart Proepper, Jeffrey “JR” Rubin, Jennifer Mohr, Martin Downs, Shea Lee, Helena Scholz-Carlson, Jordan Scherer, and Andy Huttel.
Evenings: Thursday - Saturday @ 8pm
Matinees: Saturday @ 2pm & Sunday @ 3pm
Dates of shows:
11/3 thru 11/6
11/10 thru 11/13
11/17 thru 11/20
12/1 thru 12/4
Doors open 30 minutes before show with a 2 hour run time plus a 15-minute intermission.
In Chicago’s Belmont Theater District, at Athenaeum Center for Thought & Culture Studio B, 2936 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago, IL.
TICKETS AND INFO:
Tickets on sale through Athenaeum Theater Box Office.
$25 suggested General Admission; Pay-What-You-Want tickets available for all shows.
Street parking and parking lots available (behind the building on Oakdale, and South of the building on Southport), public transportation access via Brown and Purple line (Wellington stop), Accessible by #9 Ashland Bus
ABOUT Laughingstock Theatre:
Laughing Stock Theatre creates and performs substantive, high-quality Commedia dell’Arte that spectacularizes the mundane and delights their audiences. The majority of their programming is pay what you can or free. Founded in 2019, Laughing Stock has performed original commedia dell’arte shows throughout the Chicagoland area including the Towle Theater, at the Chicago Circus & Performing Arts Festival, The Crowd Theater, William Powers State Park, and their first venue: Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro. They have taught lectures and workshops for schools and private events in Indiana and Chicago. See LaughingStockChi.com for more information
PRAISE FOR Laughingstock Theatre’s previous show Masquerade
“The tight physical comedy combined with the situational drama ensured that every scene was both hilarious and moved the plot forward.”
“Masquerade was a hilarious romp which managed to stay true to the classic Commedia art form, center queer characters, fit a sword fight into the Crowd Theatre and keep me laughing throughout.”
“Masquerade blew me away with its bawdiness, fast-paced action and stunning masks!”