A Chicago Theater Voice Silenced
By Candace Hunter
Arts & Culture Editor
The Defender had a chance to be at the opening for the documentary styled play, “The Project(s)” at the American Theater Company. It is a must-see production for all Chicagoans, for anyone interested in Chicago history, for anyone interested in Sociology, for anyone interested in Black history, for anyone interested in the Great Migration, and sadly, for anyone interested in the last work of P J Paparelli.
In a tragic turn of events, P J Paparelli, 40 years young, the Artistic Director of the American Theater Company and co-writer of the play, died unexpectantly in a fatal car accident in Scotland the week after the opening. He and his longtime friend, David Charles Goyette, had escaped Chicago for a much needed respite after completing the work on “The Project(s)”.
Paparelli’s death was announced last Thursday by American Theater Company board member David Katz. The ATC is a non-profit, ensemble-based theater located in Chicago’s Northside.
“The Project(s)” is a documentary styled theatrical production that blends the interviews of CHA residents, historians and griots, in the telling of the story of public housing in Chicago. Using an ensemble cast and blending music, rhythm, documentary styled photography and these enlightening interviews, the artistic crew of ATC, spear headed by Paparelli, have spun an exhilarating evening of theater that tackles the questions of “who” “what”, “where” and the big “why” of Chicago’s public housing. This piece was the last in the line of documentary styled live theater that Paparelli was creatively responsible for, including “Columbinus,” delving into the many issues of gun violence in America and “The Humans,” a piece about the Everyman and Woman of New York City and what that means to exist there. The through line in all of these works, is that Paparelli, found the humanity in the faces of those who we ordinarily get a glimpse of, and spotlighted that humanity, removing the distance between the “us” and the “them”. His legacy.
…THE PROJECT(S) continues through June 21. Get your tickets now, and, if you are a current or past resident of CHA, there a certain number of free tickets available for you. Please call the box office for more information. (773) 409-4125.
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