When it comes to innovative theatrical productions, no one does it like Steppenwolf Theatre.
This is the place where you can see some fantastic diverse programming that you can’t get anywhere in the city. The intimacy of the space puts theatre goers right into the heart of the production. Plus, each of the productions welcomes thoughtful dialogue and thought provoking insights.
I love that after attending a play at Steppenwolf Theatre, it oftentimes leads to a new outlook and perspective on life.
After attending “We Are Proud to Present a Presentation…” I’m proud to say that Steppenwolf has another hit on their hands.
SYA’s Latest Hit
Written by Jackie Sibblies Drury, “We Are Proud to Present…” tells the story of a group of actors coming together and attempting to the tell the forgotten story of the Namibian genocide. While presented by Steppenwolf’s Young Adults, it’s incredibly relatable and relevant for both a teen and adult audience.
Without giving too much away, I walked away with my mind completely blown. The conversations that ensued were so intriguing, me and a fellow theatre goer shared a Uber pool and continued the conversation.
Soon the production is going on tour across the Chicagoland area. Whether you have teens or you just want to check it out, it’s worth the adventure.
Since I want you all to go out and see it, here are my top 5 reasons why you need to check out this amazing production.
Top 5 Reasons to Attend
- Learn something new – Ask yourself, when was the last time you learned something new? Well, if you are in the market for some new knowledge than you’ll love the subject matter of this play. Something I learned from watching this production is the genocide of the Herero people by Germany. Never in my entire life of education did I know this genocide occurred. It wasn’t even a small blurb in our history books. If I never attended this play, I would have never known about this horrific event and the effect on the Herero people. What I love about the production is yes it educates the audience on this tragic event but it also encourages us to analyze our perspectives on historical events. As an audience, we must ask ourselves who gets to tell the story and what information is being left out?
2. Not just for teens – While technically, this play is marketed towards a younger audience, don’t for a second think that the subject matter isn’t thought-provoking. This play has so many layers to dissect that I’m still trying to get to the bottom of.
3. Two directors for two perspectives – When attending the first showing, someone in the audience asked a very poignant question. They asked: why are there two directors? The response – why not? The production is made with intention; including the decision to have two directors. Something that I found interesting about the play is that it features three black cast members and three white cast members.
Both groups have their own varying perspectives in regards to how to best tell the story of the Herero. However, both perspectives are needed to drive the message home. What’s interesting, is in order to capture these perspectives you need directors that can understand and guide the cast. I thought Hallie and Gabrielle did a phenomenal job of directing the play. It allowed the audience to understand and see those varying perspectives. Also, this is an example of a good ally. Hallie could have easily said that in order to capture the black perspective that would be the responsibility of the actors to convey that. Instead, she brought on Gabrielle as another voice of authority to guide the story.
However, both perspectives are needed to drive the message home. What’s interesting, is in order to capture these perspectives you need directors that can understand and guide the cast. I thought Hallie and Gabrielle did a phenomenal job of directing the play. It allowed the audience to understand and see those varying perspectives. Also, this is an example of a good ally. Hallie could have easily said that in order to capture the black perspective that would be the responsibility of the actors to convey that. Instead, she brought on Gabrielle as another voice of authority to guide the story.
4. The writing is phenomenal – The writing of this play is second to none. The format in itself is very intriguing. We are essentially watching the creative process of this play. However, we never see the play itself. It’s a form of storytelling that I’m sure you haven’t seen.
5. It’s really really good – What other reason do you need besides the fact that this is a well done play? You know it’s good when I decide to end my blogging hiatus so I can share why this is a worthwhile production. Of all the theatre companies in Chicago, Steppenwolf really tries to stay on the cutting edge of diverse programming. I can assure you, you will leave a show with more knowledge than you came with.
If you wish to see “We Are Proud to Present a Presentation…” Check out the neighborhood tour that kicks off on March 16th and ends March 23rd. This play is recommended for youth ages 14+
Photo credit: Steppenwolf Theatre