Herding cats. Like most overused metaphors, there’s good reason you hear it thrown around so much. One would be hard-pressed to find any individual who works at a non-profit or mission-driven organization who didn’t regularly shake their head in wonderment at how their coworkers, people who share the same desire to make a positive difference, struggle so hard to reach agreement on what exactly they should be doing and how exactly to do it. How is it possible this meeting has run into hour three? Is so-and-so really going to block consensus again? Aren’t we all on the same team here? The Justice League wouldn’t get mired in wordsmithing their mission statement… they’d be out fighting for justice!
Or would they? In their new evening-length work Lucky Plush deploys their highly entertaining signature blend of dance, theater, video and music to perform a little organizational psychology. The subject: a group of washed-up super-friends who join forces to create a non-profit think tank, only to get caught in the weeds of branding, meeting procedurals and other trappings of group process. Fighting evil ain’t what it used to be.
As with most Lucky Plush works, “SuperStrip” was a year in the making, a collaborative effort between the ensemble members, who had freedom to create their individual characters (e.g. Meghann Wilkinson’s Sparky Lightstep, who has the power to grow “sustainable, locally harvested seasonal produce” and Elizabeth Luse’s Professor Visioné, who after losing x-ray vision, gained the visionary ability “to bridge theory and practice”), and frequent Lucky Plush creative partners including composer Michael Caskey of The Claudettes and Jeffery Hancock, who must have had an absolute ball designing the costumes. The production is a big feather in the Plush hat—not only is it the first time the ensemble performs on the Harris stage, this is the first time the Harris has commissioned and presented work by a Chicago-based dance company. A well-deserved shot for a company that’s been creating some of the smartest, funniest pieces of thought-provoking entertainment out there. (Sharon Hoyer)
Lucky Plush Productions at the Harris Theater, 205 East Randolph, (312)334-7777. Thursday, March 3 at 7:30pm. $10-$55.