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About Plasticene Physical Theater

In 1995, a group of Chicago theater, music, and design artists formed Plasticene to create original physical theater for exchange with audiences around the world. Unlike most theater companies, Plasticene is a research and performance organization. Our investigations lead to original work that challenges the existing boundaries of theatrical form, and points to the future of theatrical art.

Luis climbs The Perimeter 2004Plasticene is a research as well as performance organization. Our artists and members look to develop theater in new ways beyond the "pick-a-script-block-and-run" process that dominates theatrical creation in America.

Luis climbs The Perimeter 2004Plasticene experiments with contact improvisation and object encounters to develop non-text-based action and situation. Plasticene emphasizes exploration of the most plastic elements of theatre creation: the human body, objects, light and sound. Plasticene looks to communicate human interaction and condition in new forms that are physical, visual, visceral, poetic, provocative, intelligent, and bravely experimental.

Plasticene makes theater through a unique five step process:

  • Resource
  • Exploration
  • Scoring
  • Performance
  • Exchange

Resource is the company selection of storylines, actions, design ideas, and objects.

Exploration is the collaborative creation of improvisations around the Resource that generate a field of scenic possibilities.

Scoring is the placing of our discoveries into sequences that become a show.

Performance is usually a premiere run in Chicago followed by tours to diverse audiences nationwide and abroad as Exchange.

Exchange also includes teaching our techniques and the processes we discover to others the public, students, and fellow artists.



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