THE ALMOST EMPEROR OF THE UNOFFICIAL DEESTRICK OF LAKE MICHIGAN
Written by Leah Roth Barsanti
*Winner of the 2020 Judith Barlow Award*
*Nominated for 2023 Best New Play by Broadway World, Chicago*
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It is the 1920s in Chicago, and The District of Lake Michigan is thriving. Led by Cap and Ma Streeter, the lakefront plot of land that houses The District is occupied by a ragtag group of Chicagoans living outside the law. They have been allowed to live there, pretty much undisturbed, for decades, but now they are in the way of millionaire Potter Palmer's master plan to expand his holdings onto Lake Shore Drive. Not one to do his own dirty work, Palmer sends his puppets (The Judge, Sargeant O'Malley, and N.A. Warpbank) to remove Streeter and his followers from the land once and for all in this DaDa adaptation of a Chicago legend.
"Streeterville won't never have a chamber of commerce until it has a cabaret. This is a frontier town and its got to go through its red-blooded youth. A church and a WCTU branch never growed a town yet.
Yuh gotta start with entertainment."
- Captain George Wellington Streeter
We as Cats Cradle Theatre and a company of artists, no matter where we work, acknowledge the original owners of that land.
The event at The Understudy Coffee & Books on December 5th, which resides within the traditional homeland of The Council of the Seven Fires, which includes The Peoria and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ tribes as well as many others which traversed this land.
It is our responsibility as individuals who benefit from colonization to understand and support the indigenous communities whose lives were destroyed and whose stories were erased in the name of this nation. Chicago is home to one of the largest urban Native communities with members of tribes from across the content. It’s important to not only look back at the communities that called this land home before us, but to understand that we are still living alongside peoples for whom reparations must be made.