Waltzing Mechanics

Chicago's Home for Documentary Theatre

"R. Kelly" - Isabelle, Lincoln Square

Actors Elizabeth Williams and Bryan Campbell perform this hilarious CTA story in the current run of EL Stories, playing Saturday nights at 11pm through November 17.

Click here ("R. Kelly") to hear the original storyteller – Isabelle from Lincoln Square – as she tells Mechanic Eric Loughlin about the experience she had dodging a shady singer on the Red Line.  The recording’s transcript follows:

ERIC:  G’head, so give me your name and your neighborhood. ISABELLE:  Uh, Isabelle. I’m in Lincoln Square, ERIC:  Okay.  One more time. ISABELLE:  Isabelle in Lincoln Square. ERIC:  Oh-no, Sorry, We’ll star- the EL story.  Go’head. Okay, yeah. ISABELLE (overlapping): Oh, the EL story.  Um, so I was riding the Red Line, and um, I sit down and I’m sitting on the window seat, and I like open a book. And um, this guy gets on the train, and he is-- he sits down next to me and he starts singing in the style of R. Kelly. And he starts serenading random women on the train, so like, he sees the girl across from him, and he’s like, you know like, “Pretty Laa-deh!” Like “Whatcha dooo-in? I’m here on the train, Wanna knooow you!”  But like she – he’s talking the whole thing, so like he’s like talk singing? He’s not actually singing. And so this is going on, and the girl’s like ignoring him, and I’m just sitting next to him, going like, "Oh-ma-God, like, please don’t even like… Please don’t turn around, like – I cannot even-- I’m just like burrowing myself in the book." ERIC (overlapping):  Right! ISABELLE:  And he keeps doing this to random women.  And this goes on for a long time, and then finally, there’s this older woman sitting on the other end of the train, and he’s like picking on this one girl. And he keeps goin’ up to her, and like-- like singing to her, and she’s just like sitting there absolutely embarrassed. And the older woman gets up and she’s like-- like, “You need to leave," like, "this young lady alone!” Like, and he like gets up and then-- instead of like being ashamed, he goes up to her, and he starts serenading her! And then, and then the part that like – I like that they did it in the story – ‘cause she actually did like, warm up to him, like when, when he was-- ERIC (overlapping):  Really? ISABELLE:  Yeah, ‘cause he was, she - he was like, he’s like, “I was just waiiitin’ to get to the beauty of the train!” And like, she was just like melting, and then – ERIC (overlapping):  Awwww, that’s cute. ISABELLE: He was so distracted that I got off the train. I – yeah, so-yeah, I was ready to get off. ERIC (overlapping, with laughter): “Now’s my chance!” Awesome! Thank you, Isabelle!

The current edition of EL Stories featuring “R. Kelly” runs Saturday late nights through November 17 at the Greenhouse Theater Center.  Advance tickets are available at http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories