Fulton Street Sessions was born from both the collaboration of free form improv sessions and the aftermath of the infamous, horrific winter storm of February 2011. It is a collection of various skits that carry music as its common denominator while expressing sporadic emotions from across the board. As I watched the play evolve I floated between “wanting to be a singer” to feelings that ranged from “selfishness” to “free love” within a matter of ten minutes. I was within a state of stupor in wanting to lay low but then getting the urge to get up and join the cast. All in all, the play accomplished its goal in entertaining, and entertain it did.
TUTA members Kirk Anderson, Jaimelyn Gray, Stacie Beth Green, Trey Maclin and Jacqueline Stone engineered the play with director Zeljko Djukic leading the cast. For 85 minutes, the actors took the audience on a ride that depicted every element of life in its own shape, way or form. The opening scene reflected the bizarre blizzard of last winter by displaying an exaggeration of both ignorance and fear alike. With ignorance because even after three winters here, people still act surprised when it snows profusely during winter months (go figure) and with fear because there is always an elite group of folks, pantries stocked, who dare not leave their homes in the dead of winter.
There were acts of no rhyme, no reason – things that happen in life that don’t serve a purpose. Why do we pay bills again? Paper shuffle – what’s that about? They paint a picture of such nuisances. Acts of verbal dialogue – where random subjects are discussed, usually at the most impertinent of times. Harmonious performances of rock, hymn chords, folklore music and a truly classic tune, in addition to the incorporation of various instruments connected the play together magically.
Music is power. It compels every soul; we merely share different appreciation for different sounds. That is its gift and watching this play confirmed what I believe to be so true and that is music brings people together. Whether you are young, old, black or white – if a song touches your soul, it represents the very part of you that stirs up a forgotten memory or an emotion that may have been buried inside. That is not something that can be said for many forms of art.
Overall, the simplicity of its backdrop with its ever-changing dramatic flow of settings created a play so grand. The actors intertwined in their craft graciously. Their performance brought out each intended emotion based on the audience’s state of mind at the very time of each act. It was about being real and letting it all out.
If there’s one message you should leave with after watching Fulton Street Sessions it’s this: life is all about letting go and ad-libbing along the way. Let art move you and bring people together. It creates harmony and peace in ways we may never understand and conceive its full potential unless we fear not.
If your emotions need re-charging, this play will complete its mission.
Fulton Street Sessions
Through March 25
TUTA at Chicago Dramatists
1105 W. Chicago Ave.
1-800-838-3006 or tutato.com