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  Tilikum at Online Stream


Online Stream

Tilikum was a king, and the oceans of the world were his. Now, he is a captive in a marine amusement park, doomed to live as an opportunity for profit. Alone behind bars he forgets the feel of freedom, but when fellow prisoners ignite the fires of his memory, he starts down a path that threatens to consume everything. Ripped from the headlines, Kristiana Rae Colón's Tilikum explores captivity, savagery and rebellion in a vital and visceral blend of theatre, drumming and dance. Poetic and lyrical, Tilikum calls out the power structures - both corporate and human - that ensure continued oppression, and the complicity of those willing to stand by and do nothing.


Show Times TBA

Show Type: Drama

Running Time: 1hr, 30mins

  Tilikum Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Nonetheless, there are a lot of compelling and skillfully staged questions in play in the scenes between Dawn and Tillikum. Is there any such thing as an ethical performative relationship between humans and animals? Can a captive animal ever be said to be happy? Is there any argument for bringing animals closer to children who might never see them? Is it time for a ban on all non-human forms of entertainment?"
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...The three-person cast also features a powerful performance by Sigrid Sutter as Dawn, a character based on veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau who drowned in 2010 after Tilikum pulled her under by the ponytail. Sutter's portrayal shows a woman who is deeply connected to Tilikum, yearning to set him free even as she's participating in the very system that commodifies him. When she and Geffrard create the choreographed whale/human routines that entrance the park's customers, it's pure poetry-in-motion. Finally, there's Matt Fletcher as "The Owner," the park supervisor responsible for purchasing Tilikum. Fletcher makes him truly loathsome - condescending, dangerous and all-too recognizable."
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Catey Sullivan

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...What is the difference between a whale and a man?, asks Kristiana Rae Colón's new play Tilikum. Why should a black whale evoke more sympathy than a black man when he's taken from what he loves and kept in untenable circumstances? Sideshow Theatre's production, under the direction of Lili-Anne Brown, demands consideration of these questions by rendering Tilikum in the body of a black man, Gregory Geffrard, who speaks and dances his story on a set that looks like the shallow end of a drained swimming pool."
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Irene Hsiao

Windy City Times - Recommended

"...Director Lili-Anne Brown ( very in-demand these days ) smartly has put together Tilikum as if it were a musical, recognizing the song-like richness of Colon's language. She's well-served by choreographer Noelle Simone and fine scenic, lighting and sound designs."
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Jonathan Abarbanel

Theatre By Numbers - Highly Recommended

"...For as rich as this production is, it doesn't shy away from evoking the mass spectacle of orca shows, and inviting the audience to make their voices heard, too. It's brazen, funny, and spirit-lifting above all else, and I couldn't give "Tilikum" a higher recommendation."
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Sean Margaret Wagner

Stage and Cinema - Somewhat Recommended

"...For all its heavy-handed overkill, Tilikum — lifted by its poetry and sincerity — is more than a pep rally for the PC crowd. But, overwritten and underplotted, it seems stuck in its situation. Both species are condemned to comment on the action rather than live it. Because its parallels are blatant from the beginning, we’re left to admire Lili-Anne Brown’s very watchable staging and to savor committed performances from Sideshow actors who definitely deserve center ring. That’s not quite enough."
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Lawrence Bommer

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...I could talk about how great "Tilikum" is all day. I could write about how Greg Geffrard is charming, tragic, funny, a generous and physically dynamic Tilikum whose pain and hope are boundless in an exhausting role that asks for much from him and to which he responds by giving more. I could write about how Sigrid Sutter, as his trainer, deftly illustrates the nefarious layers of well-intentioned white people."
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Jay Van Ort

Third Coast Review - Recommended

"...Tilikum is not subtle in its emphasis on its messages. But the staging by director Lili-Anne Brown is creative and memorable. Tilikum is staged in the pool of a marine theme park, where Tilikum (Gregory Geffrard) is dumped from his net by the Owner (Matt Fletcher) who has bought the six-ton whale, expecting his investment to be enhanced when Tilikum mates with the female whales."
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Nancy Bishop

Chicago On Stage - Highly Recommended

"...There is a certain brilliance to Kristiana Rae Colon’s Tilikum. If it was just a play about whales, it would be a very good play about whales. If it was just a play about Race, it would be a very good play about Race. But Tilikum is more than that."
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Karen Topham

Picture This Post - Recommended

"...The world premiere of Tilikum, presented by Sideshow Theatre Company is a multi-sensory exploration of captivity. Inspired by the infamous Sea World whale--whose violent antics you may have seen in the documentary, Black Fish--this play by Kristiana Rae Colon features drumming, movement, and lyrical language that pulses with a political edge."
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Brent Ervin-Eickhoff

  Tilikum Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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