A Life With No Limits and Dream Logic Meld Dance, Circus, Theater With Science

Mickey Lonsdale and Dan Plehal perform Strings, part of their Dream Logic repertoire. Photo by Nikolai Roster.

Aura Curiatlas Physical Theatre, an acrobatic dance theater company that is in its 4th year of touring the U.S. with several shows, is bringing a new work to Chicago. They will be performing their double header for three nights only at Edge Theatre in Edgewater this coming week. The first half of the show Dream Logic  has evolved from the foundation of their company. Co-artistic director Dan Plehal described how that show has developed into a collection of short stories–some quirky and goofy, some meditative and dramatic–illustrating characters or experiences everyone can relate to. The second half of the show is quite a departure into a new area for them. A Life With No Limits is a piece that is inspired by the work of astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. A Life With No Limits will test the company’s signature style of blending dance, circus elements, theater and acrobatics to explore the fascinating life and work of a beloved scientist.

Fiona Bradley, Joan Gavaler, Dan Plehal and Richie Schiraldi create acrobatic shapes as particles in A Life With No Limits. Photo by Geoff Wade.


Plehal described how Aura Curiatlas has grown over the past four years with his co-artistic director Joan Gavaler (dancer, choreographer, director) from their earlier work Dream Logic. “Joan comes more from a dance background and I was getting into acrobatics, so we shared our skills with each other. I am also a theater director, so we decided to piece all of this together to create this new brand of storytelling that is hard to categorize. We decided to grab a few people we went to school and worked with over the years and put ourselves in the studio and began to make a work. We booked ourselves a space eight months out and decided we had eight months to make a thing. Along the way we have found other people that sort of fit into the work we do because we have such an odd skill set. It’s hard to find the people who have not just the dance skills, the acrobatic and acting skills, but most importantly the collaboration skills. We have to get along with each other because it’s not just ‘Here is your script– now learn your lines.’ We are all rolling around on the floor together, trusting each other, and climbing on top of each other. For that we have to really get along personally.” The current cast consists of the afore-mentioned co-artistic directors Plehal and Gavaler, as well as stage manager and collaborator Richie Schiraldi, collaborators Mickey Lonsdale, an acrobat and dancer based in Stamford, Conn.; Carlos Lopez, an acrobat based in Chicago,  and Fiona Wren Bradley, a handbalancer and acrobat based in Chicago.

Joan Gavaler, Dan Plehal, and Mickey Lonsdale take perform as neglected crayons in Krayola, part of their Dream Logic repertoire. Photo by Nikolai Roster.

Andy White of Broadway World reviewed their show back in March when it ran in DC, “It’s especially gratifying to see companies like Aura Curiatlas Physical Theatre return to Washington with a fascinating new work, A Life With No Limits, dedicated to the ideas of the physicist Stephen Hawking.  Aura Curiatlas has developed a unique, intensely physical brand of performance without words, incorporating circus and dance techniques into narratives that are eye-popping in their execution and touching in their meaning.”

The show runs at Edge Theatre, 5451 N. Broadway, at 8pm Friday July 28, Saturday July 29 and Sunday July 30 all. Tickets are $15 for students, $20 general.

Kim Campbell
Kim Campbell

Kim Campbell (they/them) is a freelance editor, podcaster and creative writer who has spent a career focusing on the arts, particularly literature, theater and circus. Former editor of CircusTalk News, they have written about theater and circus for Third Coast Review since its very beginning. Kim is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and the International Network of Circus Arts Magazines. In 2019, they were on the jury of FIRCO in Madrid (Circus Festival Iberoamericano) and in 2021 they were on the voting committee for the International Circus Awards. See their tweets at @kimzyn or follow them on Instagram.