Tuesday January 22 7:53 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Lucky Plush "Rooming House" is Fascinating and Kind of Chaotic


Created by Lucky Plush founder and artistic director Julia Rhoads and collaborating director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig (formerly of 500 Clown), “Rooming House” begins as a conversation between friends which morphs into a dance experience.

Where “SuperStrip” was a rather brilliant composite of every non-profit retreat I’ve ever attended, with all the pretentious brain-storming, self-aggrandizing consciousness-raising, protective circles that goes on and on and on.
“Rooming House” has a simpler premise. The six dancers, Kara Brody, Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Elizabeth Luse, Rodolfo Sánchez Sarrracino, Aaron R. White and Meghann Wilkinson, try to solve the mystery of why Orpheus and Eurydice acted the way they did, using the game of Clue as a framework.

They designated areas of the stage as ‘rooms’, then assigned motivations in place of weapons. As they tried to figure it out, they jumped from room to room individually and collectively to figure it all out. I was a little frustrated because I couldn’t keep track of all the rooms or actions, the weapons or motivations, and the people – who mostly didn’t have anything to do with Orpheus and Eurydice.

I was actually glad when one dancer won, but that didn’t resolve anything for the cast or for me. Overall, I was very confused! The conversations flowed from English to Spanish and back, but I don’t speak Spanish, so I missed out on those comments. I had trouble keeping track of the game. I think I needed a diagram! Oh well, the graceful, athletic dance movements made up for it all.

Steppenwolf’s 80 seat 1700 Theatre is the perfect venue for “Rooming House”. It’s casual enough that workout clothes don’t look out of place. It’s just the right amount of space for six dancers to jump around from room to room in their own version of Clue. Finally, it’s small enough to hear what they were saying, in contrast to last year’s “SuperStrip” which was staged in the huge, echo-y Harris Theatre. That said, we did think the volume was a little too low in the beginning.

“Lucky Plush Productions’ “Rooming House” runs through November 18th at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted, Chicago. Paid parking is available in the Steppenwolf Garage. Valet parking is also available. Running time is one hour. Remaining performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 pm. Tickets range from $15-$40. FYI (312) 335-1650, www.steppenwolf.org or www.luckyplush.com.