MCA Stage presents theater artist Annie Dorsen's Spokaoke (pronounced spoke-ee-oh-kee). This lively performance invites audience members to participate in a karaoke bar experience, but instead of pop songs, Dorsen has programmed the karaoke machine with her own selection of speeches -- from Socrates and Susan B. Anthony to Charlie Chaplin and Chelsea Manning. All the speeches, when originally delivered, called upon people to envision a better world. Spokaoke takes place in the MCA Café on October 27 and at Haymarket Brewery on October 28. These performances are copresented with the Chicago Humanities Festival.
In the temporary public square of Spokaoke, Dorsen intends for beliefs to collide across time and politics in unpredictable ways, making unexpected connections. Some speeches are iconic, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" or JFK's "Ask Not" inaugural address. Participants can also channel Sojourner Truth with "Ain't I a Woman," Bill Clinton with "I Have Sinned," and Saint Francis of Assisi with "Sermon to the Birds."
Annie Dorsen works in theater, film, and dance. Over the last five years she has developed a number of projects that utilize digital tools to shape the script and experience of live theater. She is active in the United States and Europe; her Yesterday Tomorrow premiered in June 2015 in the Holland Festival in Amsterdam, and previous works have been seen widely in Norway, Austria, Germany, France, and the US. In 2009 she created two music-theater pieces: Ask Your Mama, composed by Laura Karpman and sung by Jessye Norman, and The Roots and ETHEL's Truckstop. She is the cocreator with Stew of the 2008 Broadway musical Passing Strange, which she also directed.
The program is presented in the MCA Café on Tuesday, October 27, from 6-7:30 pm. Spokaoke is free with museum admission; museum admission is free on Tuesdays for Illinois residents. Reservations are recommended; call the MCA Box Office at 312.397.4010. On Wednesday, October 28, from 8:30-10 pm, Spokaoke is presented at Haymarket Pub & Brewery for guests 21 and over. Tickets for October 28 are $10 and include one pint of select Haymarket Brews; tickets are available at tickets.chicagohumanities.org.