For a director who has tackled Leonardo Da Vinci and the Tales of the Arabian Nights, the work of Marcel Proust must merely seem the logical next step. The reclusive French novelist provides the source matter for theatrical auteur Mary Zimmerman's latest project, Eleven Rooms of Proust, which is being presented Apr. 29-May 10 by Chicago's About Face Theatre.
There is little usual about Eleven Rooms. The performances take place at the city-owned Berger Park Mansion. Audiences are guided through different rooms, where scenes and images from Proust's monumental, 3,000-page Remembrance of Things Past are communicated through dance, music, performance art, visual art, and architecture. Furthermore, there are, in the manner of a restaurant or amusement park ride, several seating per evening. The production lasts 55 minutes and the theatre expects to admit six groups of 15 people each night.
The project is produced in collaboration with Lookingglass Theatre (of which Zimmerman is an ensemble member), and is funded by the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts at Northwestern University (where Zimmerman teaches). Some N.U. Students are collaborators in the piece as well.
Zimmerman has conceived and directed such experimental works as The Notebooks of Leonardo daVinci, S/M, and Mirrors of the Invisible World. For information, call (773) 549-7943.
-- By Robert Simonson