1.Why do we rush around, changing from one lane to the other, when we know it does not get us to our destination any faster? It’s an illusion, and it increases our chances of getting into a crash by 3X, yet we still swear that lane we’re not in is always moving faster.
2. What day (other than Super Bowl Sunday) do more people die in car crashes than on a normal day?
3. What do we accomplish by rushing?

Today’s Something Else: Illusion Theater ~ The Origin Story

People are always asking me how the name Illusion came about, so let’s just get it out and into the open.

After living, studying and working in France for 4+ years I came home to St. Paul and wanted to start a Theater Company. We didn’t have a show to do or a name to call ourselves, but we did manage to convince the formidable Suzanne Weil, who ran the Walker Art Center Performing Arts Program, to give us two nights on her stage.

Of course, we needed a show and a name to actually appear on the stage. So when one day we were lying around on the living room floor as the sun was setting, knowing the next morning I’d have to give the world information about who we were and what we were going to do, we began to talk and brainstorm.

Coming up with an evening of entertainment turned out to be the easy part. I’d put together a performance group and created a show when I lived in Paris, and we’d already been noodling around with some new work in the studio. But coming up with a name — that was a different story.

I think someone asked me, “What are the pieces about?” Apparently (though I don’t remember) I answered, “They’re about my illusions — illusions of life, what it could be versus what it was…”

That was the a-ha moment (though, again, I don’t remember). That was when we decided that the performance at the Walker would be called “My Illusions,” with the logical follow-up action being to call our company The Illusion Theater.

Now, I know there’s long been confusion about what we meant by illusions. I blame it all on the quasi ex-pat Franglish I was probably still thinking in at the time.

I had assumed that everyone would understand that we meant Illusion as in Illusions about life, about society, about the perceived universe and the unseen world. But later it was interpreted to mean Illusion as magic, and given the highly physical movement-based work we did in the first years, it even came to be associated with the art of mime.

These tags to the name bugged us all greatly at the time, but now I see them as just part of the evolution of who we’ve become. Of course, I still like best the notion of exposing our illusions and exploring what they mean.

What does Illusion mean to you?

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