Rise Of The Numberless! Eric and Andy!
In the world of Chicago Storefront Theater, one name stands alone. The New Colony has been on the forefront for 4 years, dedicating their lives to the the craft of collaboration in creating new aesthetics. Now, they open "Rise of the Numberless," a co-production with the venerable Bailiwick Theater. Billed as an underground rock concert in a future American dystopia, the buzz on this project is huge, with some calling it "the next Hedwig." We spoke to Evan Linder, co-author of the script, and Nikki Klix, one of the "Numberless" performers in a Lion's Choice in Southern Missouri. Believe me, it won't just be the lion choosing this one...
Hey guys! Thank you for joining us here at this Lion's Choice Roast Beef Restaurant!
Evan Linder: Yeah! Thanks for having us on your Google Doc!
Nikki Klix: As long as I don't have to eat lamb.
Evan, what is a Google Doc?
EL: It's the name of my favorite booth here at the Lion's Choice. It's the one right by the bathroom.
NK: They know us here.
This is getting intense. Almost as intense as this horseradish cream sauce! So, you two are actors and sangers, correct? Tell us a little about yourself, Evan!
EL: Well, I'm a New Colonist, I write, I act, I do not sang.
Did you write this play called "Rise Of The Numberless"?
EL: I did. Pat Coakley, Andrew Hobgood and I wrote the book for the show. The music is by Chris Gingrich (one of the composers of "That Sordid Little Story") and Julie Nichols (music director at Second City.)
And Nikki Klix, who are you?
NK: I'm an actor/musician. I mostly sing and play my fiddle. I want to add that Julie [Nichols] also composed "Tupperware". One of my fave New Colony shows.
Now, we saw "Tupperware," and we have to say we loved it, and we aren't musical theatre kind of guys. Mostly because of the subversion of the genre and adding top notch talent to a show that really had something to say. So, guys, tell us a little about "Numberless," is it going to blow people's minds out of their rears?
EL: I think that is the plan. We just wanted to create a show that felt like you were going to an underground concert. It feels like anything can happen when you walk in the space and the audience isn't quite sure what to do, so it's nice to see people a little on edge right when the show starts.
What is it about?
EL: Ha. Klix, you want that one? No? Okay. It's set in a dystopian future where the government has enacted a "One Child, One Nation" law that prohibits families from having more than one child.
NK: We are a pod of Numberless children. Numberless children ... haha. where to start. Keep going. You got this.
EL: Simultaneous plot! So, the second and third-born children who aren't given embedded numbers in their wrist when they are born are secreted away to live in underground pods. Our show is a travelling group of Numberless musicians who are trying to tell the true story of their uprising 25 years ago.
So they are a band of traveling hobos?
NK: Really attractive and talented traveling hobos who want to rock your faces off.
EL: That is accurate.
We love dystopian futures. We have a plan for the economic collapse in 2030. We'll armor up a short bus and get all the shotguns and pills we can carry and stay right here in Southern Missouri. We'll spend the days teaching dogs how to shoot and create an army of superdogs all hopped up on screamers! Then, we will trade our canned goods for women every now and then when we get lonely.
NK: Sounds like you've got it pretty figured out.
EL: Yeah, this is gold. Don't stop.
Well, we think what our question is...when we have seen the advertisements for Rise, all these futuristic roustabouts are wearing crazy makeup and clothes like they are in a drag queen gang in The Warriors or maybe in David Bowie's band. How can sewer dwellers hiding from the government afford all this makeup? Because they would probably be fighting for water and running from gangs of loose prisoners.
NK: The Numberless get everything they have by doing "surface raids". And each have their own job within the pod.
EL: Yes, some are getting medical supplies on their raids, some are securing food, and some are going after the make-up bin at Dollar Tree.
"Hey Numberless Steve! Don't forget to get me some mascara! We want to look great when we are fighting off that grape gang!" That sort of thing. So tell us what sort of music we can expect to hear.
EL: The music has a very early 70's glam rock thing going on. When we were in workshops, we spent a lot of time finding old videos of Bowie, Lou Reed, etc. Chris and Julie just went to town from there and came up with some amazingly unique stuff that is really distinctive. The music blows me away.
This show is being produced by 2 companies. Bailiwick and The New Colony. We know that co-producing is the wave of the future, but give us an example of how it logistically works to work together with people, whom, you might not know from Adam (and Steve).
EL: It was actually such a harmonious marriage with Bailiwick from the beginning. Once we got Bailiwick and TNC actors in the same room together, I think everyone got really excited by the new energy. The Bailiwick ensemble has some of the best musical performers in the city, so once everyone got in the same room to start workshopping the show, everyone just thought "we've got something here." There was something there there.
Nikki, how was working with these 2 companies as a performer? How long have you been working on this piece?
NK: We started workshops back in October. So the actors have been at it since then. I'm not certain when the writers began but the process is really incredibly collaborative so much of the creative work is done together. Each of the actors develops their character and through workshops and scene work we come up with some cool ideas that the brilliant writers take and make way more sense of and work their magic and before you know it you've all created a story together. And as an actor, who doesn't normally get this type of opportunity, it's very rewarding and exhausting but ultimately, a piece you can really take pride in.
Well, it sounds incredible. We know that New Colony has been on the map before, but thanks to this team-up it looks like you've got some real exciting things to show the city! What else is happening with New Colony, Evan? Anything we can look forward to after "Numberless" takes Chicago by the throat?
EL: We have a 30 minute piece in this years Sketchbook Festival at Collaboraction. James Asmus and Crystal Skillman teamed up to write Psychonaut Librarians which is about a group of Chicago librarians who must keep the world safe from fictitious creatures. They also do a lot of drugs. Sean Kelly is directing it and we're really stoked about it. We also have three other shows in workshops right now, including a show about a girl's rollerderby team written by Aaron Weissman and directed by Thrisa Hodits that will be premiering in the fall.
Hey, let us ask you guys something. Just between us, what do you think of the name "Collaboraction"?
NK: What's not to like? It's two words. "Collaborate" and "Action". I don't know if you realized that...
EL: Whoa. Klix, you just kinda blew my mind.
Nikki, what have you been up to? Let us know what you have coming up! Right...NOW.
NK: Be prepared to be impressed. I just got the opportunity to play with the amazing Gene Weygandt over the weekend for the annual Porchlight benefit. Right NOW, I'm so ready to open this SHOW. TONIGHT! Numberless!
Well, guys, we hope you have a great run of this show, because we are going to have great runs after eating these Roast Beeves!
EL: Good thing the Google Doc is right by the bathroom.
NK: Speaking of... please excuse me.
Eric Roach, Anderson Lawfer: Curators of ReviewsYouCanIews.blogspot.com
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