Theater, Dance, Comedy and Performance in Chicago

Review: One Day When We Are All Robots/Chicago Slam Works House Ensemble

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 Photo Credit: L-R: Lila Morse, Frankiem Mitchell, Molly Meacham, Nicole Bond, Davide Grody, Shelley Elaine Geiszler, Bryant Cross, Victoria Alvarez-Chacon.


Lila Morse, Frankiem Mitchell, Molly Meacham, Nicole Bond, Davide Grody, Shelley Elaine Geiszler, Bryant Cross, Victoria Alvarez-Chacon

Preachers normally ask for a call and response of “Amen” or “Hallelujah.” But in the church of the future, where people give themselves to the great “architect,” people happily chant in computer jargon and exclaim “0-1!” For those old enough to remember the days before the internet could be accessed on a handheld device, it may not be too difficult to reminisce on eras past, where families connected over evening meals instead of WiFi signals, friends mailed letters because email didn’t exist and finding your perfect match wasn’t done by swiping right on a dating app. All of these topics are explored in Chicago Slam Works House Ensemble’s production of “One Day When We Are All Robots.”

J.W. Basilo is the Ensemble’s director. The show was written by the cast, and each performance in the run is slated to vary slightly in cast and content.

The cast wears various black costumes on a mostly bare set, colored primarily by the words of each actor. It’s evident that many of the ensemble members are also poets, as the production can be likened to a team poetry slam with solo pieces, skits and choreography interspersed to keep things interesting. Each piece has its own flair and creative energy. Whether a piece explores how quickly trends change, the inundation of information overload, or how online dating has become more commonplace in the age of the Internet, the ensemble treats each segment as a significant part of the show’s encapsulating puzzle. However, some themes—like love and the quest for it and media desensitization negating the desire for emotional connection—are touched upon more than once and occasionally feel redundant.

Overall, the group’s collective and individual takes on what it means to be human touch upon themes that nearly any person (or robot) can relate to. (Mary Kroeck)

Chicago Slam Works House Ensemble at Stage 773, 1225 West Belmont, (773)327-5252, chicagoslamworks.com. $10-$20. Through September 5.

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