"Fulton Street Sessions" (TUTA Theatre Chicago): Party with Plenty of Innovation!

"Fulton Street Sessions" (TUTA Theatre Chicago):  Party with Plenty of Innovation!

#41.  My favorite part of the movie “Rachel Getting Married” is the minstrels.  In a household dealing with a sister getting wed and one getting sober, this folksy band add ongoing musical interludes.   It’s a group of jovial friends playing instruments on the porch, in the house, by the tent.  Despite all the crazy going on in this family, the band of friends keep the music flowing.  It’s a side note in this big dark movie but it was my focal point.  I want a group of entertainers on the fringes of my life especially during the rough patches.

TUTA Theatre Chicago presents the world premiere of FULTON STREET SESSIONS.  Two guys and three gals showcase their talents, cabaret-style.   They bang the drum. They sing a song.  They take a bath.  It’s a mixed bag of comedy-drama-music.  The ensemble has devised a variety show production. They use spoken word, sketch comedy, and karaoke-like singing in their artistic expression invention.  TUTA is hosting a gathering and everyone is invited.  FULTON STREET SESSIONS is a TUTA party where they supply it… BYOI:  Bring Your Own Innovation.

FULTON STREET SESSIONS seems kind of like how a Red Moon cast party might be.  Moments of frolicking, marveling and buzz-killing drama.  There is a kaleidoscope of movement as the ensemble twirls and trudges across the stage.  The ambiance has a strong sense of play and purpose.  At one point, Trey Maclin is stripped down, bathed and then dressed up and overdressed.  It might be the analogy of the whole show:  naked truth meets spectacle.  TUTA presents their message sometimes with lyrical motion and sometimes with sheer buffoonery.  About halfway through the show, an ensemble member announces they need a break.  Not an intermission but a pause.  The whimsical halts.  The gap is filled in with Kirk Anderson’s storytelling.  He makes it personal…very personal.  The transition from fun to woe is immediate.  It’s one of a few downer shticks that pop the primary bubbly effervescence of the show.

The stage is innovation visualized.  Scenic Designer Brandon Wardell creates a backdrop of multiple doors with one being a garage door.  Director Zeljko Djukic effectively intertwines the openings and closings of doors into stylized choreography.  The look intrigues.  The movement fascinates.  It’s a fun house for this party of entertainers.  The big takeaway from FULTON STREET SESSIONS is how much the ensemble enjoys performing together.  They are having fun.  And when a member steps out of the frivolity with a somber soliloquy, the others almost shun him or her.  Of course, it’s a rehearsed response but it feels real.  TUTA doesn’t want anyone to stop the party vibe even one of their own.  I concur!  Just enjoy the party!  Keep it fun!

Production photograph courtesy of Anthony LaPenna.

Running Time:  Eighty minutes with no intermission

At Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago

Developed and written by TUTA

Directed by Zeljko

Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm

Sundays at 3pm

Thru March 25th

But Tickets at www.tutato.com


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