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THE ARTSEMERSON BLOG

The Debate Society: The Next Thing

 

The Debate Society is not only The Next Thing, it is The Current Thing. This company has blown up in the past year, garnering rave reviews and an exceptional reputation for producing fresh, innovative new work.

debate societyDriven by the creative minds of Hannah Bos, Paul Thureen and Oliver Butler, this theatre company pushes the boundaries of experimental theatre by “creating unexpected stories set in supremely intricate, vividly theatrical works.” Their work is complex and refreshingly trusts the audience enough to allow them to actively work to fully understand what they see on stage.

Blood Play, for example, is a smashing success of a dark thriller. Set in the early 1950s, the play captures a very specific moment in American history and focuses on a Jewish family moving from the South side of Chicago to a Jewish suburb in Skokie. From a series of coincidences, a spontaneous party erupts in the basement of the house. Despite the merriment, there is something sinisterly dark lurking in the shadows. Blood Play takes us on a journey of secrets and distorted realities that ends with shocking revelations and shifting perspectives, all the while keeping us on our toes with irresistible tension and impeccably timed humor.

One of the most fascinating parts of this presentation is that the world of the play originated with an old tale of male menstruation. Yes, I said it: male menstruation. Figure that one out. If this makes you a little uncomfortable, don’t worry—since then the tale has evolved from a literal interpretation to an informant of the general mood of the work. This fact just speaks to the originality and merit of The Debate Society’s process and motivations for making their art. It is subjects like these that never get written about…subjects that make for juicy, interesting, stimulating theatre. 

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