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Review Thu Dec 20 2012
I woke up this morning and opened my computer for my regular routine, which involves checking Facebook, my email, and my always growing list of news sources and social media sites for anything strange or out of the ordinary.
Today, nearly every one of my Facebook friends has posted about the end of the world. Some are kidding, some are serious, and some, like me, joke around about it in that uneasy way that people do when they need to laugh at things that would be terrifying if they were real.
While tomorrow's Mayan-predicted end of the world is real or not is up for speculation, everyone in this world has more immediately pressing fears that are truly and paralyzingly absolute. Earlier this week, 40 individuals bared these fears to an audience of over 700 people in a production called Fear Experiment 3.
A friend performing in the show turned me onto it, and now I intend to tune in to as many Mac 'n Cheese Productions as I can. There are only two rules for participating in the experiment: 1. You must participate alone. You can't apply for the show with a friend, as it takes away from the experience as a whole. 2. You must be afraid of something directly pertaining to the show. For instance, my friend, Abigail Worthington, is afraid of performing in front of people she knows.
The 40 performers came from backgrounds as varied as their individual fears, and they began the show by reading from their original applications. Some were short, sweet and to the point, and others were long and moving, like that of the woman who lost a massive amount of weight and then found comfort in alcohol.
The three hour show then went on with a capella performances and step routines, all learned by 40 people who had no experience with either before they began the process in September. There was even a little bit of improv, a performance in Spanish by non-Spanish speakers, and a tall, blonde girl who beatboxed. None of it was perfect, but all of it was inspiring.
For this performance, Mac 'n Cheese Productions partnered with Inspiration Corporation, a self-proclaimed "catalyst for self reliance" with the mission to restore dignity and respect to those afflicted by homelessness. The organization does this by giving individuals a place to live and training them in a marketable craft that can take them far in the real world. You may have heard of their most successful venture thus far, Inspiration Kitchens, which trains individuals in the culinary arts. You can visit their restaurants in Uptown and in Garfield Park.
Of course, none of this would be possible without Saya Hillman, the creator of Fear Experiment and Mac 'n Cheese Productions, and an incredibly ambitious woman who, it seems, doesn't know quite how funny she is.
If you are interested in becoming a part of one of the many inspiring Mac 'n Cheese productions, there are several coming up. The deadline for applications for Fear Experiment 4 has already passed, and the show will take place on April 5, 2013 at the Park West.