Urban Dream Capsule Makes United States Debut at Sears on State Presented By Performing Arts Chicago

Internationally Acclaimed Artists Take Up Residence In Sears Store Windows June 12 Through 25

Urban Dream Capsule (UDC) will make its United States premiere on June 12 as a part of Puppetropolis Chicago, the city's newest summer festival. This unique interactive window theater promises to capture the city's attention. For two weeks, four Australian artists will live in four display windows of the new Sears store on State, at the corner of State and Madison streets, interacting with audiences in an around-the-clock performance. They will enter the store windows on June 12 at noon and live there until June 25.

With no shades or shutters, the four men will live under the watchful eye of the public 24 hours a day from outside the store. Audiences also will be able to view the artists from inside the store during regular business hours. The windows will be equipped with a full kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom, where the UDC will make the ordinary extraordinary. UDC shows how everyday interactions can be transformed into artistic expressions, reflecting the goodhearted nature of humankind and the creativity of communication.

Throughout their residency, no one will leave or enter the space. Since the glass provides a barrier to speech, communication is forced through other outlets. Audiences can e-mail and fax the performers, write to them on a dry erase board, and even deliver presents through a specially sealed window. A Web site will be created, and the space will be equipped with a 24-hour webcam so audiences can log into UDC at any time.

"Urban Dream Capsule provides us with a great opportunity to celebrate our new State Street store and to partner with Performing Arts Chicago and the City of Chicago on a truly unique summertime event," said David W. Selby, Sears senior vice president of Marketing.

Susan Lipman, executive director of Performing Arts Chicago, said, "I am honored to introduce this fabulous group to Chicago in conjunction with Sears and the City of Chicago. Having seen Urban Dream Capsule in both Montreal and London, I was amazed at the personal connections they made with the audiences."

"We're thrilled that the American debut of the Urban Dream Capsule is a part of Puppetropolis Chicago," added Jim Law, executive director of the Mayor's Office of Special Events, which is coordinating the summer festival with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. "The Urban Dream Capsule presentation will give Chicagoans a sneak preview of the type of adventurous artistic experience that Puppetropolis intends to offer."

UDC is a completely interactive event that has engaged audiences in six cities around the globe. The artists spontaneously lead onlookers in choreographed dances, turn a shower into a comedy-drama and prepare meals as part of a slapstick comedy routine. Just as a puppet depends on a puppeteer, this performance thrives on exchanges with the audience. At a previous installation, a package arrived with a note that stated, "Do not open until 10 p.m." When UDC opened it that night, they discovered half of a cake for one of the performers' birthday. As they took the cake out, two sisters sat down outside the capsule with the other half, and the group enjoyed the treat together. At the close of the performance, hundreds of people - many of whom had become known on a first-name basis by UDC - turned out to see them as they left the windows.

UDC is a window theater installation that was first created in 1996 for the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts in the Myer Melbourne windows. It has since been performed in Belgium, Canada, England, New Zealand and most recently in Perth, Australia. Each performance is unique to the presenting city. The Gazette (Montreal) writes, "What starts out as a kooky novelty transforms into a profound exchange between people who have grown to care for each other."

Creator, artistic director and performer Neil Thomas has played street theater and created performance art for more than 15 years. For the past six years, he has specialized in the creation of performance window installations and site specific public art. His work is highly respected and acclaimed in both Australia and Europe. He has performed and created four window theater pieces for the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts, toured his work nationally and toured window pieces three times in Europe.

The State Street windows where the four performing artists will live will be specially designed and outfitted to reflect an original presentation created by UDC set designer Richard Jeziorny. Each of the four windows measures 17 feet in width and more than 10 feet in depth.

Sears will unveil its five-level, 250,000-square-foot urban store at the corner of State and Madison streets on May 23, 2001. Sears on State will offer the more than one million Loop-area residents and workers a full-line downtown retailer.

Performing Arts Chicago (PAC) is one of the city's leading presenters of new directions in theater, music and dance. In celebrating more than 40 years of presenting, PAC is recognized around the world for presenting artists at the forefront of their disciplines who question popular notions of the stage, including the Maly Theatre of St. Petersburg (Russia), Theatre de Complicite (England), Robert Lepage (Canada), the Handspring Puppet Company (South Africa), and Cirque Invisible (France). For more information about PAC events call (773) PAC-LINE (773/722-5463).

The Urban Dream Capsule presentation is just one component of Puppetropolis Chicago, the city's international puppet pageant, featuring dozens of performances, workshops and exhibitions by local, national and international puppetry artists at locations throughout the city, June 12-25. Chicago's newest festival showcases a wide range of puppetry styles, from the traditional to the avant garde, with shows for all ages. Puppetropolis Chicago is coordinated by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Mayor's Office of Special Events in collaboration with the Chicago Park District, The Field Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Performing Arts Chicago, Redmoon Theater, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Lookingglass Theater Company and The Actors Gymnasium. Puppetropolis Chicago is sponsored in part by Sears on State, United Airlines, citysearch.com and Peapod.com. For more information on Puppetropolis, visit http://www.cityofchicago.org/SpecialEvents or call 312-744-3315.

Urban Dream Capsule at Sears on State will be presented by Performing Arts Chicago from June 12-25. The performance will be held 24 hours a day at the new Sears store location, 2 N. State St.

SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Contact: Media, Jennifer Topolewski or Janie Goldberg-Dicks of Margie
Korshak, Inc., 312-751-5540 or 5544, for Sears; or Rebecca Sullivan of Sears,
Roebuck and Co., 847-286-3796

Website: http://www.cityofchicago.org/SpecialEvents

Website: http://www.sears.com/

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