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  • Karyn Ashby

Lucky Pierre: Immersive and Intimate

When Lucky Pierre’s ongoing performance “in the future something will have happened” was first

described to me, I didn’t get it. It’s a piece with one Lucky Pierre member performing and one

“audience” member. How could there be a performance with only one person in the audience? Could theater simply be a conversation, an interaction, between two people? Photographs on Lucky Pierre’s website show a table with printed cards laid out in a grid. The description mentions some sort of choice about the future and a silent walk. I considered participating and dismissed it. I had the same knee-jerk, “ No,” reaction when I received an email inviting me to sign up. It was too intimate and vulnerable. I assumed it was a group email with various time slot openings, but upon examination it was an invite for me and me alone. My ego swelled, my interest bloomed, I signed up, and replied to the email using exclamation points.

I arrived at Berger Park a few minutes early on the day of the performance and realized that my sister-in-law had gotten married there. It was at her reception that I got back together with her brother, after a 7-year break, and we married shortly thereafter. I was emotional. I sat on a bench near the lake and concentrated on my breathing. When the time came, I was greeted by Lucky Pierre collective member, Kevin Kaempf, whom I know. We engaged in small talk, and he told some funny stories about his college experience, the same college my son started attending in the fall. Then I was ushered into a beautiful vintage lakefront house and saw Heather Lindahl. I hadn’t known who would be performing the piece and we broke all walls to embrace. I had recently been in a show Heather directed so this manifestation was inevitable. She apologized for the lapse and sat back down to begin. I was asked questions and Heather took notes. When she asked me who I would speak to again if I could, I immediately said my parents, who are deceased. This surprised and delighted me. I sometimes wonder if I have moved too far away from them, so focused on the present, but there they were at the edge of my consciousness, springing up at a moment’s suggestion.

There was talk about the probable and the possible. I was asked to choose between three different time periods in the future and I chose the longest one, 10 years, without hesitation. Heather read a passagethat described me in a harrowing scene - I was in a car looking out the window at some sort of refugee situation. It occurred to me, with horror, that I had chosen ten years in the future thinking only of myself. As I find myself at a turning point in my life, I’ve taken steps to increase my creative endeavors. It was with this lens and subsequent yearning for confirmation that 10 years in the future appealed to me, with no thought of the challenges facing us as a global community.

I went on a silent walk with Kevin where I was encouraged to observe as much as possible. Given the suggestion and some guidance from Kevin, I saw patterns in tree trunks, felt a change in air humidity as we briefly entered a chapel on the Loyola campus, and heard the assault of traffic noise on my sensory system as we eventually walked back to Berger Park. I described everything I had experienced to Heather and she wrote it down. Heather put cards printed with clouds and sky down on a table. We flipped them over, Memory game style, and Heather took them away one by one until I was left with a card to keep. Like the appearance of an unwanted tarot card it said, “Axe Throwing” - an activity designed to distract us from our worker bee treadmill of employment and chores, all the while ignoring that an axe might well be a valuable commodity in the near future because of its intended purpose.

Heather ended the piece by telling me I would receive a letter in the mail from Lucky Pierre, a report on the performance. I wrote my address on an envelope. Afterwards, I walked for some time down North Broadway street. I found an antique mall and yearned for the money to purchase an ink line drawing of a naked woman being followed by a cloud of eyes with a dragonfly embedded in her flank. I bought a pie instead and drove home. It was my take on throwing an axe.

My experience took place at Berger Park Cultural Center, 6205 N Sheridan Road in Chicago on Labor Day Weekend. To sign up or get on the waitlist for Lucky Pierre’s “in the future something will have happened” go to

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