Zoo Motel

Event Type
Event Description

ZOO MOTEL is an inventive exploration of the possibilities of live virtual theatre and the magic of cinema. Performed for a strictly limited audience of 21 nightly, the show is built on Zoom using a specially designed miniature camera crane serving  as an ‘eye’ to allow for 360 tracking, panning camera shots, and rapidly-shifting perspectives. Co-created with artist/designer Steven Dufala via video conferencing, set pieces were designed and fed-exed from Philadelphia to the micro theatre space conjured in Thaddeus’ home. Phillips trained with master New York City magician Steve Cuiffo on illusions that integrate the other motel guests (audiences) into the event. Tatiana Mallarino directs. Seemingly straight out of a Michel Gondry film, the mysterious Zoo Motel is populated with paintings of the Mojave Phone Booth, the Osuchi Wind Phone, a copy of the Voyager Golden Record, a Japanese Maneki-Neko beckoning cat, a miniature Titanic, and various other eclectic surprises.

Thaddeus Phillips is one of the USA’s most internationally acclaimed theatre artists, directing and touring his work across Europe, Asia, and South America and has performed Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop, Barrow Street Theater, and the BAM Next Wave Festival. Like many theatre makers around the world, Thaddeus saw performance and tour plans cancelled or postponed; so he set about creating Zoo Motel with Dufula, Cuiffo and Mallarino. Zoo Motel opened in October in the United States via venues in Miami and Los Angeles and has quickly become a cult hit of online, remote performance. Selling out weekly to a worldwide audience with virtual motel guests checking in from such diverse places as Hong Kong, Wellington, Montreal, New York, Portland, and Singapore.

Guests at the motel have included filmmakers and theatrical luminaries such as Robert Lepage who said after the opening night: “Thaddeus Phillips’ Zoo Motel is a playful & inspiring theatrical poem, an act of resistance against the current creative inertia.”

Links Hall Executive Director Stephanie Pacheco shares, “We’re thrilled to offer Chicago audiences an opportunity to see Zoo Motel--one of many international, pandemic collaborations which would not have been possible without the innovation of artists like Phillips and Dufala. Zoo Motel is a show for anyone who wants to break free from quarantine, exercise your imagination, and be transported by a night at the theater.

What critics are saying about ZOO MOTEL:

“Weirdly Enchanting” - American Theatre
“Surprising, magical, and theatrical” - Broad Street Review
“Surreally Beautiful” - New York Times
“Spectacular” - Miami Herald


ROOM RESERVATIONS (tickets) are per household and all-inclusive. You do not need to purchase additional tickets for family members for the show as long as everyone is sitting around the same screen.

By purchasing a ticket for ZOO MOTEL, participants reserve one of only 21 ‘rooms’ in the imagined motel. Guests will receive a printable room key, motel stationary, a brochure, and an interactive set piece; and each household is requested to source a deck of cards before the performance. At showtime, the night clerk opens the motel to welcome guests.

Tickets and information for Links Hall Chicago performances: https://www.zoomotel.org/tickets

**PLEASE NOTE dates and Time Zones when purchasing tickets. Chicago shows are listed as CT.**

Artist Bios:

THADDEUS PHILLIPS is a theatre director, designer and artist who has created original theater works, and has been called “one of the most creative theater artists in the country” by Westword Magazine. His original creations have been presented Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop, Barrow Street Theatre, and the BAM Next Wave Festival and have toured around the world from London to Hong Kong to Perth to Moscow. Selected creations include: RED EYE TO HAVRE de GRACE, 17 BORDER CROSSINGS, ¡EL CONQUISTADOR!, CAPSULE 33, A BILLION NIGHTS ON EARTH & LOST SOLES. He directs internationally for various theaters, most recently in Spain and Sweden. He is a Doris Duke Artist Award recipient, appeared as an actor in ´Narcos´ (Netflix) and ´The Amazing Spider-Man 2¨. He attended Whittier College in East LA and The Colorado College.

STEVEN DUFALA is known for his wildly imaginative stage designs of Geoff Sobelle’s HOME and THE OBJECT LESSON which both were presented at the BAM NEXT WAVE FESTIVAL and toured the world over. He is recipient of an Obie and Bessie award for those designs and works as an artist in installation sculpture and multimedia as one of the Dufala Brothers.

TATIANA MALLARINO regularly collaborates with Phillips and most recently directed 17 Border Crossings Off-Broadway at NYTW for their 2019 season.

Running Time
2 hours


Links Hall

3111 N. Western Ave. at Constellation
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 281-0824