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‘Kill Move Paradise’ from TimeLine (to you): Streaming from the stage, way outside the box

Submitted by on Apr 2, 2020 – 11:03 am

Cage Sebastian Pierre (from left), Kai A. Ealy and Charles Andrew Gardner play characters who have suddenly died and now find themselves in another world. (Lara Goetsch photos)

Report: With a video of james ljames’ play in hand, and thanks to some creative cooperation, TimeLine will stream this riveting show thru April 19.
By Lawrence B. Johnson

Like other theaters across metro Chicago, TimeLine suddenly had to suspend a play in mid-run as the coronavirus crisis descended. But in a fortuitous twist of events, the company can offer the remainder of that run to theater-hungry Chicagoans via streaming.

The play is james ljames’ (pronounced Imes) “Kill Move Paradise,” a smart and supercharged drama about three young black men and a boy who have died – implicitly killed but under vague circumstances – and now find themselves assembled in purgatory. Brilliantly directed in its Chicago premiere by Wardell Julius Clark, this riveting show summons both Sartre’s “No Exit,” about a clutch of characters who don’t realize they’re in hell, and Mark Stein’s “The Scottsboro Boys,” about a group of deceased black youths revisiting their condemnation for a crime they didn’t commit. TimeLine’s run was just over halfway through its scheduled 47 performances when the virus hammer came down.

Shades of ‘The Scottsboro Boys’: Cage Sebastian Pierre (from left), Kai A. Ealy, Charles Andrew Gardner and Trent Davis give ’em the old razzle-dazzle in ‘Kill Move Paradise.’

Normally, play licensing and actors’ contracts prohibit wider presentation of a stage work beyond designated performances in a venue. But when TimeLine artistic director went back to Dramatists Play Service, which holds the rights to “Kill Move Paradise,” to consult about his dilemma, he was asked whether by chance the company had made its usual archival video.

“Luckily, we had already done that,” said Powers. And so began a remarkable plan to salvage the rest of the run through online streaming. “To my delight and surprise, people have really thought outside the box to make this happen. The video is solid work, done with three cameras.”

Here’s how the in-home viewing extension works: As TimeLine seats 99, only a maximum of 99 access “tickets” will be sold for each of the 21 performances that remained on the original run. Details are provided here, but the gist is that “performance times” will remain day and hour the same as usual for TimeLine. A ticket costs $25, which is around the low end of the company’s normal price structure.

More than a little confused by their sudden relocation, the three strangers wrangle among themselves and with the audience in ‘Kill Move Paradise,’ now streaming from TimeLine.

At the time of purchase, the buyer will be assigned a code, which will be conveyed to the buyer one hour before the requested curtain time. The ticket will be good for one viewing only, but the holder will have seven days from the designated day and hour to watch the play.

“We’re thrilled that we can offer the remainder of the run of james ljames’ superb play,” said Powers. “We had already resolved to pay the cast and supporting crew through the end of the scheduled run, so this is a huge financial break for us.”

Which brought Powers to make a fine point: “Obviously, viewing at home, a couple could purchase one ticket and both watch the show. But we’re hoping everyone will do the right thing and buy a ticket for each person watching.”