Teatro De Ciertos Habitantes was established in 1997 in Mexico City. Since then, they have played to many sold out shows all over the world. This week they are bringing El Gallo: Una ópera para actores to the Museum of Contemporary Art as part of the MCA Global Stage Series. The opera is performed entirely in a made up language to the foreground of Chicago’s own MAVerick Ensemble. MAVerick Ensemble is known for working with artists who create works that resist “the trends of the established artistic community.” They could not have found a better work than El Gallo: “A tale of the confrontation of desires and aspirations.”
You are taken behind the scenes, or curtains, into that place where you give everything you have to a performance or a project or a work of art. If you have ever found yourself in that space, you will identify with the characters on stage. I think in one way or another we have all been there. If not in an audition, then certainly in a job interview, sitting next to others just like us, sizing up the competition. We have all participated in projects that have pushed us to our limits, sometimes physically, sometimes mentally, sometimes emotionally. El Gallo shows us a creative process where the characters go through all three.
There are five singers and one director. We follow them through the preparations for a music competition from the audition to the final performance. We catch glimpses of the different parts of a performance, the audition, the rehearsals, and then we serve as the audience attending the final competition. The opera is completely absorbing. The characters push themselves and each other, sometimes literally, to a breaking point and then through it. I would recommend this performance not just to anyone who has ever been in a play, but also to anyone who has ever pushed themselves to success.
El Gallo will open Wednesday and play through Sunday at 7:30, as well as a matinee performance on Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $22-$28, $10 for students. Opening night will have a moderated post show talk with the cast and Saturday’s performance will have a more informal gathering for the audience to mingle with the cast.