FAILURE IS AN ACCEPTABLE OPTION AT
CHALK AND SALTWATER: THE LADDER PROJECT
CHALK AND SALTWATER: THE LADDER PROJECT
Created by Trevor Dawkins, Clifton Frei, Gwynn V. Fulcher, Greg Guiliano, John Pierson, Becky Poole, Eric T. Roth, John Szymanski
Directed by John Pierson
Opening Night: Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.
Performances continue through October 22, 2011: Thurs/Fri/Sat at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets are $15, $10 for students/seniors with ID on Fridays and Saturdays
Thursdays are free and feature a pre-show and post-show pot luck (Doors open at 7:30 p.m.)
All performances take place at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland
For tickets or information, visit www.neofuturists.org or call 773-275-5255.
CHICAGO – At the essence of all creative endeavors there is a statement that is powerful. Chalk and Saltwater: The Ladder Project, opens Thursday, September 15, 2011 at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland. Through this theatrical experiment, the creators push beyond the simplicity of surface criticism and take up the challenge of looking deeper into The Ladder, the longest running failure in American theatre history.
What is the value of a failed endeavor? What does it mean to fail? In 1926, Edgar Davis took the earnings from his great oil fortune and became the sole producer of The Ladder. The production ran for just over two years and over that time acquired some of the most scathing reviews that New York has ever seen. Through historical biographies, passages from unreleased memoirs, and glimpses into 40 boxes of decaying 100-year-old documents, the team of writer/performers thoroughly investigate this wildly expensive disappointment. Each performance is different as all 18 versions of the script are being represented through a different artistic force and the addition of random chance each night. Taking the show out of its original "costume drama" presentation and using no designed costumes, props or set pieces, Chalk and Saltwater: The Ladder Project takes Edgar Davis' "failure is not an option" mindset and turns it on its heels, not only allowing failure, but being comfortable and confident with it.
Rather than a sense of finality after exiting the theater, audiences are encouraged to become a part of the dialogue through an online journal to be launched over Labor Day weekend, 2011.
Co-Creator and performer, John Pierson, states, "I'm really excited to open the discussion of what failure is and how it is viewed. Once you understand the art, is it more difficult to mock? Our plan is to have a job that is never done - to constantly reevaluate the piece after each performance. In order to truly succeed, this open dialogue has to happen.”
Pot luck Thursdays: In the original production of The Ladder, Edgar Davis ran a free admission special which began on Thanksgiving 1927 and continued for six months. This eccentric generosity was true to form, as Davis had once held a free picnic for the people of Luling, Texas, and its neighboring counties after making $15 million on a Luling well that no other oilman would touch (they told him he'd only find Chalk and Saltwater). Total losses: $15,000/week for lost admission and $2 million on the picnic. In memory of these two absurd ideas, the ensemble of The Ladder Project is featuring pot luck Thursdays, where admission is free when you bring a dish to pass for some pre-show or post-show sustenance. Anything from a fork to a meatloaf get you free admission. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining the potluck team.
Pre-show and post-show discussions: The cast of Chalk & Saltwater: The Ladder Project believe that the experience of studying this failure stretches beyond the show, so they invite the audience to talk before and after all performances. The cast gladly accepts the criticism of the audiences attending and are excited to talk of their expectations, their disappointments, their own lives, history, food, or anything else they would like to discuss. This face to face discussion is crucial to the project as it removes the separation between the opinions of the audience, the performer and the critic.
John Pierson (Co-Creator, Performer) has been a Neo-Futurist since 1996. Besides being a full time ensemble member in Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, he has co-written and performed in full length plays including the critically acclaimed, Crisis: A Musical Game Show, Daredevil’s Hamlet, and Fear. Also during this time he released his 20th record, “Thresholds From The Basement”, with his band Even In Blackouts and finished his second novel, “The Last Temptation Of Clarence Odbody”. The novel hits the streets in October 2011.
Performance/writing team also includes Trevor Dawkins, Clifton Frei, Gwynn V. Fulcher, Greg Guiliano, Becky Poole, Eric T. Roth, John Szymanski. Evan Hanover serves as dramaturg and Paige Saliba and Victoria Golden serve as interns. THE NEO-FUTURISTS The Neo-Futurists, performers of Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind and creators of over 60 other original, full-length productions, are a collective of wildly productive writer/director/performers who create immediate, non-illusory, interactive and head-slappingly affordable performances.
The Neo-Futurists are partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, Alphawood Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation,and a CityArts 2 grant.
Filed under: The Neo-Futurists