Performing Arts Chicago will house the Illinois premiere of Bob, the abstracted biography of experimental theatre giant, Robert Wilson, directed by Anne Bogart and her Saratoga International Theatre Institute. Bob will be performed by SITI ensemble member Will Bond, April 28 - May 1. Bond was recently nominated for a Drama Desk award for Outstanding Solo Performance in Bob.
Bob takes its cue from the writings of designer/director Robert Wilson -- though the show isn't specifically based on biographical facts of Wilson's life. When it premiered in New York last season at the New York Theatre Workshop, director of audience development Randal Lichtenwalner described Bob as being about, "an artist struggling to create art in a society that doesn't always appreciate that."
Wilson, who had nothing to do with the actual production, has been one of the leading figures in the avant-garde theatre world since the 1970s. His 1976 opera, Einstein on the Beach (with composer Philip Glass) - dramatically altered conventional perceptions as an art form. From 1982 - 1986, Wilson collaborated with Glass, David Byrne, Heiner Muller and numerous other artists to present his multi-national epic - CIVIL warS: a tree is best measured when it is down, which was the sole nominee for the 1986 Pulitzer Prize in theatre. More recently Wilson recently reunited with Glass for their 3-D digital opera Monsters of Grace, Wagner's opera Lohengrin for the Metropolitan Opera and the operatic Time Rocker (a collaboration with Lou Reed). His Death, Destruction & Detroit III will premiere at 1999's Lincoln Center Festival in NY.
Bogart and her SITI company, have become renown in the avant-theatre world for their own experiments -- many of them abstract biographies akin to Bob, including The Medium (based on Marshall McLuhan) and Culture of Desire (Andy Warhol).
SITI was founded in 1992 by Bogart and Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki, with goals of training young actors, creating new works and forming international collaborations. Bogart is the recipient of two Obie Awards for No Plays, No Poetry... and Paula Vogel's Baltimore Waltz, as well as a 1984 Bessie Awards for her production of South Pacific. For tickets ($20) or more information, call (773) 722-5463.
-- By Sean McGrath