Chicago's Thirteenth Tribe starts off its second season with a site-specific bang, the world premiere of Bombs in the Ladies Room by Megan Rodgers. Previews begin on July 24 with the production running July 26-Sept. 7.
Bombs is based on the experiences of women imprisoned for their involvement with terrorist organizations and questions when violence can be justified and when it should be condemned. The five women have been found guilty of crimes ranging from murder to conspiracy to overthrow the government are held in experimental high security prisons. The goal of these prisons is not to reform, but to psychologically force these women to renounce their political beliefs. The productionis designed to accommodate only 20 spectators per performance.
Performances of the site-specific Bombs are in the basement of Yello Gallery near the intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North Avenues. Audience members must sign a release to enter and are then taken to the lower level of the gallery, which has been transformed into a sense deprivation prison unit modeled on the U.S. Federal high security units.
In an interview with PBOL, director Joanna Settle says, "The feeling is one of isolation from beginning to end. That's why we only allow twenty people in the audience at a time...The atmosphere of the a sensory deprivation chamber is a major focus of the play. What happens when your senses are taken away? What does that do to you?"
In creating Bombs, Megan Rodgers and Joanna Settle drew from interviews with prisoners, newspaper articles, criminal reports, novels, Franca Rame's monologues and Amnesty International documents. Bombs' director Joanna Settle, a recent graduate of the Inaugural Julliard Directing Program, is currently assisting JoAnne Akalaitis on the upcoming Iphigenia Cycle at the Court Theatre (also in Chicago). In October, Settle will be directing Il Signor Bruscino, Rossini's one act opera in Harlem.
The ensemble of Thirteenth Tribe includes: Gregory Berlowitz, Anne DeAcetis, Nathan Guisinger, Megan Rodgers, Joanna Settle, Rachel Sledd, Jake Solomon, Katie Taber.
Previews begin on July 24 with the production running July 26-Sept. 7. For reservations call (773) 252-2510, for more information visit Thirteenth Tribe on the regional listings at Playbill On-Line.
--By Sean McGrath