Kalena is a Chicago-area playwright whose work has been performed at Goodman Theatre and Prop Theatre, produced by Project 891 Theatre Company, Breadline Theatre Group, Tantalus Theatre Group, and Chemically Imbalanced Comedy, commissioned by Raven Theatre, and workshopped by the Women’s Theatre Alliance of Chicago and Three Cat Productions. Her play The Unburnt House was named a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference in 2013 and her play The Paringtons was selected as a finalist for the Beverly Hills Theatre Guild’s Julie Harris Playwriting Awards in 2005. Kalena graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a Bachelor of Arts in Dramatic Writing and History, and a Bachelor of Theatre Arts. Kalena has worked artistically and administratively with several local performing arts organizations including Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and Writers’ Theatre and currently serves as the Associate Director of Development for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
Why did you choose the theme of your play?
In our play (Fly book by Kalena Victoria Chevalier and music and lyrics by Steve Clark and Ed Plough), we wanted to address the theme of the Christmas spirit as a non-religious concept— as a kindness and spirit of giving that anyone can posses. We hoped to give people an opportunity to appreciate that those that are not celebrating Christmas may in fact be the most spirited of all.
What have you learned from the process of the Holiday Stories? Why was this a valuable experience?
Holiday Stories has been a huge learning experience. I really valued seeing the common themes and varied styles that came out of each playwright addressing the same general concept of the other during the holiday season.
It was very unique to have a series of plays distributed throughout an evening in a way where they had to work together like they do in Holiday Stories. The pacing and structure of my play as a standalone piece ceased to matter as much as how it affected and progressed the full evening of work as a whole. It was a new way to look at storytelling and to analyze my own writing style and how it stands out amongst other voices.
(Previews are December 4 & 5. The regular run is December 6 – January 3. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Saturday matinees at 4:00pm at the Berger Park Coach House Theater at 6205 N. Sheridan in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. Doors open 30 minutes prior to curtain. Learn more here.)