Chicago Through a Dramaturg’s Eyes
Or, rather, Chicago through many dramaturgs’ eyes.
For the 2019 LMDA conference in Chicago, I wanted to continue to explore a method of understanding place that had begun many years earlier (and was in part inspired by the Radiolab episode on Cities that included this idea that each city warps time and, in doing so, creates its own rhythm). Personal kinesthetic experience of a place creates a deep, embodied, and individualized understanding of place, as one moves through the spaces of a city (or a suburb or a neighborhood or…). Combining the idea of a city tour (see the Chicago Architecture River Cruise as an example) with the city-based immersive performance (see the 2014 production of Since I Suppose), the following presentations of the city from one person’s point of view invites you to step into their perspective and experience Chicago through both your eyes and another’s at the same moment.
Chicago’s dramaturgical cup runneth over. The city is blessed with an abundance of theatre and an abundance theatrical perspectives. It is also a city that is designed for exploration, offering a variety of delights for the 21st century flaneur. These tours of the city led by the city’s dramaturgs, presented during the 2019 LMDA conference, take advantage of both the city’s sensory delights and its wealth of dramaturgical perspectives. These tours are a natural extension of a panel that Richard Pettengill and I led on Chicagoturgy during the Chicago Theatre symposium in 2011, and of the Dramaturgy Focus Group Pre-Conference I led for ATHE in 2016, as well as my own doctoral research. I worked with a handful of Chicagoturgs to create a set of walking tours designed to highlight some of their favorite Chicago places and Chicago stories. LMDA are offering these tours as podcasts that conference attendees can download and use as they desire throughout the conference. On the opening day of the conference, June 20th, we have organized a roundtable with the Chicago dramaturgs who created the walking tours in order to introduce them to conference-goers and encourage them to make use of them while they are here for LMDA 2019, and to reflect on how each of these perspectives allow for a different experience of Chicago and a different performance of the city for tour participants.
Scroll down the page for each tour, with accompanying photos, links, and other goodies. Some are short, some are longer, some are close to our conference site, and some might encourage you to have an adventure!
We love Chicago. We made these with love. We hope you enjoy these tours and even come to love Chicago too - at least these small parts of it.
Michigan Avenue at Columbia College
Chicago Cultural Center
The murals in Pilsen
Fine Arts Building
Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary
Statue Stories and Mural Registry
The Monk at the Art Institute
For more information on The Monk, check out the Art Institute’s web site.
lutz pastry shop in lincoln square
Lutz cafe has a web site.
Lessing Statue in Washington Park
Banner photo (at top of page) by Maren Robinson