If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind theater production that not only makes you feel but let’s you be part of the performance then “Beyond Caring” is your show. The show runs until May 7, 2017, at the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago. It is written and directed by Alexander Zeldin. The press opening was on April 1.
What shook me about this production is how real it felt. Yes it was dark, sad, frustrating but that is because it reflected what happens in real life with people in real scenarios. It explores the working lives of four characters who work as low-wage cleaners at a factory in harsh conditions. With humor and sadness we witness the stress, abuse and struggle for money among these characters who simply want to make ends meet and feed their families.
The play was most recently produced at the UK’s National Theater and re-imagined for Chicago by Zeldin who said in a press release that “looking at the lives of those working in the conditions of the temporary economy, the margins of society, says so much about the moral, spiritual, and emotional place that the country is in, much like it did the UK…But it says something else too – here in the US it tells us about race in this country.”
The cast of the US premier is: Caren Blackmore (Ebony-Grace), J. Nicole Brooks (Tracy), Keith D. Gallaghar (Ian), Edwin Lee Gibson (Phil) and Wendy Mateo (Sonia). Community partners for “Beyond Caring” include: Chicago Humanities Festival, The Chicago Urban League, Chicago Worker’s Collaborative, the Jewish Women’s Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, Latino Union of Chicago, Latinos Progresando, Leadership Greater Chicago, and Women Employed.
“Beyond Caring” is produced in association with Dark Harbor Stories, which is led by David Schwimmer and Tom Hodges. Schwimmer brought this project to Lookingglass Theater and has been working closely with Zeldin on the production.
Beginning in the spring of 2016, a year before the production, the lead artistic team including Schwimmer and Zeldin began conversations with organizations that work with temporary labor force in Chicago. The idea was to create conversations and site vists to staffing agencies, factories and plants where temporary workers were assigned. Lookingglass theater has allocated more than 330 seats to be given at no cost to workers and their families whose lives and experiences are similar to those portrayed in the production.
The Lookingglass Theater is located inside Chicago’s historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. For more information visit www.lookinglasstheatre.org.