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A Letter from Bailiwick Chicago's Artistic Director

by Lili-Anne Brown

LETTER FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Lili-Anne Brown, Artistic Director, Bailiwick Chicago What we believe can be far more powerful than what we perceive. Belief itself can alter perception; as our mind plays interpreter for our senses, things get lost in translation. Faith—what we believe but cannot perceive—can trump seemingly irrefutable evidence and put us in direct conflict with our very own perceptions. There exists a universal human longing for our perceptions, our beliefs and our faith to align. We seek not only internal harmony, but affirmation from others that what we believe is reliable, and agreed upon. Ultimately, we yearn for truth. This play explores the eternal themes of desire, faith, hope and most importantly, truth. In this “information age,” explorations of truth can be complex. We are constantly bombarded on all sides by sound bites, tabloid ‘news,’ marketing, ‘infotainment,’ partisan political proselytizing, and viral shout-outs. All of these distractions stand as immovable obstacles in our never ending quest to determine the truth. But then again, if we don’t believe what’s being told to us, we can check our facts on Wikipedia…right? SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE is based on the short stories of renowned early-20th-century Japanese author Ryunosuke Akutagawa. It highlights a character motivation that many consider antiquated in 21st—century America: ‘saving face.’ Murder and harakiri serve as extreme theatricalizations of our own attempts to be seen by others as valuable, or to be redeemed for our sins. A person who feels devoid of value is dangerous. They are just as likely to attempt their own destruction as they are to destroy those who they perceive as mocking them. In each of the three stories in this play, characters take action based on their perceptions, belief, or faith. They are willing to deceive, lie, desert, or perhaps even commit murder in the quest to make their truth the truth. Their reckoning comes when they are forced to face the consequences of these actions. Their desires and their faith (or lack thereof) lead them ultimately to their personal truths. If they are willing to face those truths, they may even begin a new journey towards hope. MISSION Bailiwick Chicago is a non-profit professional company with a mission to produce contemporary musicals and plays, reinvent classic musicals and develop new work, while sharing a powerful and authentic theatrical experience. We celebrate and engage our community through diverse programming, artistic partnerships and outreach opportunities. In our first two seasons, our company garnered 28 award nominations and received critical acclaim for our innovative Chicago productions. We have a very clear vision for this company, and very attainable goals: we want to be known for doing consistently great work while still taking risks, and enriching the lives of both those who do our shows and those who view our shows.