Theater docudrama explores Chicago’s racism and healing

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THE CAST/CO-DEVISERS of “A Blue Island in the Red Sea” includes (from left) Sean Patrick Leonard, Sam Campbell III, Ada Cheng, Dana N. Anderson, P. Tyler Nielsen, Shannon Leigh Webber, Marcus D. Moore, Uday Joshi (kneeling), Andrew Rios and Esme Perez (kneeling). (Photos by: Joel Maisonet)

The New 411

By Raymond Ward, Chicago Crusader

Collaboraction’s 2017-18 season finale is “A Blue Island In The Red Sea,” an original devised new work that presents a diverse cast of Chicagoans in a meta-theatrical live experience intended to open eyes and further the conversation about racism and racial healing in the Windy City.

After its successful tour of “Encounter,” a mixed medium festival about racism and racial healing that toured Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, Hermosa, Austin and Englewood, Collaboraction continues to investigate the harsh reality of systemic racism in Chicago with the opening of “A Blue Island in the Red Sea,” April 12 through May 20, 2018.

“Welcome to the Grand Opening of the new Chicago Racism Museum, where community leaders and residents are gathering for a multimedia – and meta-theatrical-exhibit that explores the history of racism in Chicago.” That’s how the opening of this live theater docudrama begins.

“A Blue Island in the Red Sea,” written and directed by Collaboraction Artistic Director Anthony Moseley, was created through open workshops in collaboration with a team of community members, actors and designers.

“The resulting work takes audiences on a whirlwind journey from the time before the city of Chicago was founded through the formation of the segregated city we know today,” explains Moseley. “Whether it’s Chicago’s history of locking up black and brown people, going all the way back to DuSable, or the inherent racism in the dress code today at Bottled Blonde, we are using theater to encourage an honest conversation about critical issues surrounding race to cultivate truth and transformation in the Windy City.”

Collaboraction Managing Director Dr. Marcus Robinson will bring his deep experience in community development, social justice, and transformation to lead the post-show fireside conversation after every show. Audiences at Collaboraction are often a mix of people with power and privilege, sitting along side those who experience social injustice every day. So expect these conversations, led by a proud resident of Englewood, to pop.

Performances are April 12-May 20, 2018 in The Pentagon at Collaboraction Studios in the Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.

For tickets and information, visit collaboraction.org or call (312) 226-9633.

Collaboraction, Chicago’s social contemporary theater, collaborates with a diverse community of Chicagoans, artists and community activists to create original theatrical experiences that push artistic boundaries and explore critical social issues. Collaboraction has worked with more than 3,000 artists to bring more than 60 productions and events to more than 100,000 audience members. Collaboraction is led by Artistic Director Anthony Moseley, Managing Director Dr. Marcus Robinson, a company of 20 talented Chicago theater artists, and a dedicated staff and board of directors.

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