It seems like almost every member of AV Chicago’s team has some sort of creative background. That isn’t too surprising. The events industry is full of musicians, filmmakers, theater people, and artists. Because of this creative energy, whenever AV Chicago has a chance to do a cool art event, we are all over it.
Sea Change by Cabinet of Curiosity was a memorably radical project for AV Chicago. We provided audio and lighting for this series of performances in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Sea Change was described by its creators as a “hopeful evening of original songs, giant puppets, live music, delightful devices, and spectacle images”. It definitely delivered on the “giant puppets” and “spectacle images”. Highlights include an enormous whale puppet controlled by three people, a jellyfish on a fishing pole-like apparatus, and some vicious, mechanized-looking sharks.
Sea Change combined singing, dancing, and puppetry into a surreal nautical narrative themed around the position of women in our society. Its different vignettes involve a mermaid who is disgusted by mermaid mythology, a man who takes his privilege for granted and gets chewed out by a whale, and a parable about overconsumption involving a talking moon and a group of frenzied sharks. The live musical accompaniment was a psychedelic mélange of jazz, blues, rock, and other less identifiable genres.
From the description above, Sea Change probably sounds pretty chaotic. That shouldn’t be surprising since its story was created collaboratively by a group of nine singers, dancers, and puppeteers. Cabinet of Curiosity is an art collective focused on collaboration between a diverse group of artists. Their performances often involve ceremony and pageantry, demonstrated by scenes in Sea Change that resemble ancient rituals of some sort.
Sea Change ended in July, so you’ve missed your chance to see it for now. But it is scheduled to appear in bigger and better form at the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival in January 2022.