Unsex Me Here - a Living Canvas production

Theatre. Art. Movement. This is photography made flesh; the body as you've never seen it before. Pete Guither and his performers present the texture of movement with the extraordinary expressiveness of the unclothed human form. Images and patterns projected onto the actors create scenes that are alternately beautiful, disturbing, hilarious, and astonishing.


"... sensual and visceral performance art piece done with craft and good taste... For the brave who dare stimulating late night entertainment, "Unsex Me Here" is a visual treat that dares you to join them."

-- Chicago Critic.com

"Pete Guither's high-def projections of intricate patterns across naked actors is eye candy on the order of a laser-light show..."

-- Time Out Chicago

"I didn't know what I attended, but it was definitely one of the most courageous, most creatively uninhibited, most theatrical boundary-pushing events that I saw this year in the city. ... I admired and was very, very impressed, by the risk-taking that the actors, the director, Vanessa Passini, and Artistic Director Guither took. It was a unique, breathtaking production."

-- From the Ledge

"Guither, joined by director/choreographer Vanessa Passini and The Living Canvas have brought to the National Pastime Theater a one-of-a-kind theatrical performance powerful enough to make even Shakespeare red in the cheeks."

-- Newcity Chicago
(The July 21 edition listed "Unsex Me Here"
as the #1 Show to See Now)

"... the only Shakespeare in town where the costume budget was zilch.

--UR Chicago
"Unsex Me Here" is one of their three Play Picks

Unsex Me Here - a Living Canvas Production mixes theatre, movement, combat, and humor in a startling vision featuring totally nude performers who are clothed by digital projection images and unique approaches to light and shadow. This year's production is loosely based on Macbeth, with a strong focus on conflict and gender roles. Yet the seriousness of the subject matter does not stop the performers from disarming the audience with humor (as well as breaking the 4th wall).

Photographer Pete Guither, who has specialized in photography of the body as canvas for the past 20 years, uses the texture of projected images to capture the intricacies of the nude form. His award-winning work has been featured online and presented in various galleries and publications, as well as a United Nations presentation ("Furrows and Deltas: The Erogenous Zones of Mother Earth"). Currently serving as Assistant to the Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Illinois State University, Guither's extensive background includes theatre, dance, visual arts, arts technology, and music.

Seven years ago, the photography evolved into a concept that united the images in live performance, integrating richly textured movement and self-discovery with a once-immobile canvas. "The Living Canvas" (2001), using symphonic-like movements, performed at Illinois State University and for a seven week run at Strawdog Theatre in Chicago. In 2002, "The Living Canvas: An Odyssey" at Chicago Actors' Studio took the concept a different direction with a theatrical storyline (based loosely on "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"). "Ascent of the Living Canvas (2004) and "The Living Canvas 2005" followed a free-form theatrical structure that ranged from serious social statement to abstract silliness and incorporated digital projedction and multiple levels to the work. Often controversial, Living Canvas productions always daringly explore themes of self-esteem, body acceptance and beauty, repression, and the breaking down of societal barriers regarding the human form.

The Company

Vanessa Passini, Director/Movement
Pete Guither, Artistic Director/Projections
Mac: Glenn Proud
Beth: Mindy Ryba
Witches: Diana Christopher, Michael Glazer, Michael Schmueck
Production Manager: Adam Fox
Lighting Designer: Mitch Ost

Questions? Contact

Reviews from past shows:

Stoners, Dali fans, sensualists of every stripe, this show's for you. Sober or otherwise, you'll find the visual pleasures of Guither's idiom considerable, the kinetic sculpture consistently engrossing as choreographer Mark Hackman makes the most of the cast's varying backgrounds in movement and dance.

- Brian Nemtusak, Chicago Reader

intriguing and fanciful... feast for the eyes... RECOMMENDED

- Hedy Weiss, Sun-Times

...intensely peculiar and mesmerizing... It's riveting.

- Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune