REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

The Living Canvas: Rain

Written by Bill Danielrain; living canvas

Directed & choreographer by Gaby Laboyka

Produced by The Living Canvas

As part of the Naked July Festival

At the National Pastime Theater, Chicago

Theatre. Art. Movement. The human body as storyteller.

“We have to be able to laugh at ourselves, especially when we’re naked.” – Peter Guither

Fun-filled, sensual and artistic celebration of the human body awaits

There is nudity on stage for shock value, for sexual stimulation, and for simple gratuitous exploitation – and then there is the tasteful use of nudity that propels the artistic creativity of the folks at The Living Canvas.  Under the leadership of Artistic Director Pete Guither, the Living Canvas’ 2011 production: Rain deals with the fundamental connection between the human body and the natural world — the pure and essential relationship between water and flesh. It’s theatre, it’s dance, it’s movement, it’s art, it’s a celebration!

rain: living canvasrain: living canvas

The cast of 14 men and women sure had fun frolicking about naked. Their naturalism and honesty gave a spark of innocence to this entertaining performance art piece.  Stunning visual twisting bodies masked partially by intricate lighting patterns gave the show a visual depth.   These brave and uninhibited folks celebrate both the human body and the human spirit.

rain: living canvas

This show deals with a journey to a land where rain has been forgotten and hardly exists.  Fourteen performers, clad only in the textures of projections and light, become storytellers who communicate with their entire being. We hear odes to the dryness and laments to the basic life force of water.  Eventually, a mantra helps the clouds send rain upon the folks who celebrate to the tune of  the “Octapus Garden” by The Beatles. They have fun dancing and wallowing under the falling rain. It is amazing how sensual rain on naked bodies can be!

rain: living canvas

The fun culminates with a funny rendition of  “Singing in The Rain” that found the cast splashing water around while spinning their umbrellas. The audience roared their approval. The show was fun especially for those adventurous audience members who eagerly stripped naked and join the cast on stage upon an invitation from the cast. The fun show has a visceral appeal for more than the voyeuristic,  it is a pleasant and  tasteful expression of the human body.  The cast and the audience have fun and no one is getting exploited- all play homage to the natural beauty of the body. If you’ve never been  to a Living Canvas show – try this one – it’s fun.


Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podacast

Date Reviewed: July 1, 2011

As part of the the Naked July Festival at The National Pastime Theater, 4139 N Broadway, Chicago, IL, call 773-327-7077,  Tickets $20, Fridays & Saturdays at 10 pm, running time is 75 minutes without intermission, through August 6, 2011

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