The American Theater Company is remounting its stirring documentary play, The Project(s), this month, performed in an abbreviated 50-minute version by the ATC Youth Ensemble. The production, which tells the story of the people and the politics of Chicago’s public housing, will run July 14-23.
The original play, staged in May 2015, was conceived by ATC’s late artistic director P.J. Paparelli and written by Paparelli and Joshua Jaeger. Paparelli conducted more than 100 interviews with scholars, historians and formers and current residents of Cabrini-Green, Robert Taylor Homes, Wentworth Gardens and Ida B. Wells Homes. The verbatim interview material was combined with a capella, body percussion and stepping for The Project(s).
This new production is being directed by Monty Cole. The current abridgement was done by Jess McLeod and Sarah Slight.
The Youth Ensemble cast is made up of 12 actors, all rising juniors who auditioned to form a performance ensemble and be part of an intense two-year training program at ATC. In preparation for this year’s production, the Youth Ensemble met with former public housing residents and historians interviewed for the original production, many of whom are featured as characters in the play.
Earlier this year, ATC and the National Public Housing Museum collaborated to co-create an educational curriculum in Chicago Public Schools based on The Project(s). This curriculum and the newly condensed production of The Project(s) were both piloted in schools from February through May.
The Project(s) opens at 8pm Friday, July 14, and runs through July 23 with performances Friday-Sunday. Tickets are free and a $15 donation per ticket is suggested. Reserve tickets by calling 773-409-4125 or visit the ATC website. The American Theater Company is at 1909 W. Byron St.