Chicago Shows Just Announced April 30-May 16

Next up on our whirlwind, cross country (and beyond) tour, the show is headed to the Prop Theatre in Chicago this April and May. Please forward to friends in Chi-town and hope to see you at the show!

APRIL 30th through MAY 16th
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays @ 8pm
Sundays @ 3pm followed by an artist talkback with Jennifer

Prop Theatre
3502 North Elston Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60618

Tickets are $15-$30

One response to “Chicago Shows Just Announced April 30-May 16

  1. This show is on the avant-garde of performance-even for a theatrical city like Chicago. Her handling of the fourth wall is truly transgressive, using her studied understanding of the audience to interact with them-without interacting at all. Fans of the Chicago Neo-Futurist’s style will like her fast moving, personal/political tone, and the way she connects her performance to her life (one example of which is the strategic placement of her critics within the show itself). It is also hilarious, with game-show mock-ups of the demand placed on her to constantly answer questions about her “identity” (usually code for invasive prodding about her heritage) in a rushed and absurd way. Her “stand up” is so much more than a routine, though it keeps pace with Jajeh’s self-proclaimed influences-Margaret Cho and Lilly Tomlin.

    About her performance/storytelling- the show is strong, honest, and energetic; down to earth, playful and immensely vulnerable at the same time. The kinds of personal stories that “make it” in the media are often exploitable, overly sentimental tales of hardship and suffering-with clear cut enemies and victims-the kinds we are used to seeing on Oprah, in Barbara Kingsolver’s work, or in the recently released film Precious. These kinds of portrayals curb criticism-manipulating the viewer into a mindset of “either I am a jerk who just doesn’t care about stuff” or “I am a caring person because I am crying” (what critic Lee Siegel calls “nice art”-the critics of which he calls “nice writers”) -both responses lacking the full potential for engagement with the stories, the world, and the audience’s role within them.

    In the above examples, there is also a question of mediation (i.e. the storytellers are not the people who have actually lived the experiences), and the story is treated as a spectacle. Not to say that personal stories shouldn’t be interesting or entertaining (Jajeh’s is both), but when the main emphasis is on the most shocking/dramatic elements, the result becomes an easy to digest narrative for the audience who nods along empathetically-and usually uncritically. But Jajeh’s performance blows apart this convention. She collapses the false distinctions between memoir, stand-up, documentary, and fantasy. And she doesn’t give-or ask for-any kind of free pass. Quite the opposite, she has mastered the complexity and nuance of her subject matter.

    Her performance is raw but thoughtful, and extends far beyond her personal suffering…while never betraying it. An individual person’s story ought to be unfamiliar, though often we are perplexed by our media-fed expectations of how we think people should categorize their experiences-and accordingly- tell us their stories. It may be hard to swallow the show for this reason- as Jajeh discloses her most intimate suffering, with a critical and reflexive eye turned inward on herself-pointing out all she sees-sharing her life with us. This must demand a great deal of her-it clearly demands a lot of an audience.

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