Skip to contents
Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Andersonville Small Businesses Hosting ‘Window Plays,’ Series Of Performances That Can Be Viewed From The Sidewalk

Stop Motion Plant will host six recurring performances in storefronts along Clark Street, making it one of the few live, in-person theater experiences since the pandemic began.

Kevin Michael Wesson rehearses his one-man play in an Andersonville storefront.
Courtesy Maddison Wise

ANDERSONVILLE — The show must go on — even if it has to be performed for a sidewalk audience from behind a storefront window.

Theater company Stop Motion Plant will debut its new production “Window Plays” this weekend in Andersonville. The production includes six plays, with ensemble members performing the works from the inside of Clark Street businesses.

The idea is for neighbors to be able to walk Clark Street and safely take in local theater, said Stop Motion Plant’s Kevin Michael Wesson. “Window Plays” is one of the few live, in-person theater productions to be staged since the starts of coronavirus pandemic, which has had a devastating impact on local theater.

“The pandemic made us think of different ways for live theater to work,” Wesson said. “We came up with a bunch of ideas. The most logical one was storefronts.”

The plays will take place Friday-Sunday nights at six Andersonville storefronts: Women & Children First, The Neo-Futurists Theater, Raygun, Rattleback Records, Enjoy An Urban General Store and Play.

Each two-to-five minute play will be performed by an ensemble member consecutively for an hour. Performers will be inside the stores, and patrons can take in the plays by walking from store to store and viewing them from the sidewalk.

Free tickets for the show can be found here.

Credit: Courtesy Maddison Wise
Kevin Michael Wesson rehearses his one-man play in an Andersonville storefront.

Stop Motion Plant is a new theater troupe that spun out of a class at Andersonville’s The Neo-Futurists. After forming their own group, the six class members put on a show at The Neo-Futurists theater called “Kill The Clocks.”

The show was a success and Stop Motion Plant began working on a follow-up when the pandemic hit, Wesson said.

The pandemic caused the troupe to reconsider its next work. Stop Motion Plant devised the storefront plan and wrote plays centered around a theme of “presence.” Much of the works deal with how the pandemic has impacted physical spaces and the way people socially interact, Wesson said.

“It’s a play on isolation and the need for human contact,” Wesson said. “But the plays are very different.”

Each ensemble member will act out their play live, but some will be aided by multimedia and other props. The cast includes: Jen Allman, Nikki Bauer, Perry Hunt, Kristen Jamerson, Jasmine Henri Jordan, Alé Ramirez, and Wesson.

Though the performances are publicly accessible, a free ticket is required for attendance. That’s so organizers can stagger attendee’s start times and keep patrons socially distanced while walking from storefront to storefront. Masks and social distancing will be required among patrons.

The plays will be performed from 7-8 p.m. Friday, 7-8 p.m. Saturday and 6-7 p.m. Sunday. The businesses hosting performances will be closed to the public at those times.

Though it is free, Stop Motion Plant is accepting donations. Twenty percent of proceeds will benefit Brave Space Alliance. Donations can be made here.

Wesson said his theater company is excited to see how this new form of storefront theater works out, though the group will be happy to be again producing plays in a normal theater setting.

“We’ve been devising this show for six months and we haven’t met in person,” Wesson said. “I definitely don’t want to keep doing this. But it is possible.”

For more information on “Window Plays,” click here.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.