There's a pleasant buzz of anticipation in the lobby of Redmoon Theater 30 minutes before curtain time. Frank Maugeri, producing artistic director, enters the room smiling and waving. "Come on in and play," he says, throwing the doors wide open to the main floor.
The crowd surges forward into every kid's dream-a cavernous room wide enough to roller skate, tall enough to accommodate wooden swings that hang from 45-foot ceilings and big enough to house cargo ships or airplanes. Its 57,000 square feet also grant Redmoon's wish for more legroom to create the dramatic spectacle performances for which it is famous.
Redmoon, founded in 1990 and originally housed in the West Loop, yearned for more space, and after searching for three years, finally found what it was looking for-a huge empty warehouse at 2120 S. Jefferson in Chicago. Because Redmoon draws a lot of inspiration from Mexican art, its location in Pilsen is a perfect fit.
Even though it has moved, Maugeri says Redmoon's core mission continues to be to provide free outdoor theater for the city. The extra indoor footage allows room for invention and experimentation.
"Our indoor space is like a massive laboratory that permits us to experiment for outdoors," Maugeri says.
The indoor and outdoor works of Redmoon share a symbiotic relationship. While the core mission is focused on its outdoor work, it can't happen without the indoor facility. The income generated from the indoor performances, as well as rentals of the space by outside groups, is what provides funding for the free outdoor shows.
With that in mind, Redmoon has developed a structured season of five or six ticketed indoor shows that will be performed regularly. That being said, part of the charm is that no two shows are ever exactly alike. Redmoon people are highly creative and spontaneous; there are no scripts per se.
Redmoon does not perform your typical sit-and-watch plays. The lively shows invite a connection with the audience you won't soon forget.
For more information about Redmoon and its upcoming season, visit redmoon.org.
See more of Kathy's stories here.
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