If only The Ventriloquists Convention at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) was the real deal. I thought it was at first—I wanted to see hundreds of people talking to each other through another person’s mouth. Think of the existential possibilities. Instead it is art. But even as a theater piece it makes me smile. Here’s what I’m talking about (without moving my lips) from the press release:
MCA Stage presents The Ventriloquists Convention, a new contemporary theater work that centers on the annual convention that takes place at Kentucky’s Vent Haven Museum, the world’s only museum of ventriloquists’ dummies. The piece imagines meetings among the convention delegates and their dummies, who each maintain distinct voices and identities. Influential European director/choreographer Gisèle Vienne makes her Chicago debut with this project. She has collaborated with American author Dennis Cooper for more than 10 years, and they are joined for this project by Puppentheater Halle, an acclaimed German puppet-theater company. The Ventriloquists Convention is presented as part of the MCA’s Global Stage Series and takes place November 12 through 14 in the MCA’s Edlis Neeson Theater.
… The show explores why ventriloquists do what they do, and what lies behind the relationships that they have with their dummies. Performed by nine ventriloquists-puppeteers, the piece hinges on the use of multiple layered dialogues, including the ghostly, nonphysical ventriloquists’ voices. These portraits enable Gisèle Vienne to continue her ongoing research into the interplay between physical presence and dissociation that she had developed in prior projects.
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