Chicago New Work Festival – 1st Annual

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Three Cat Productions proudly presented the inaugural Chicago New Work Festival.  Developed with the goal of showcasing Chicago playwrights, fostering relationships between playwrights and directors, and bringing new work programming to the neighborhood, the Chicago New Work Festival ran from March 25 to May 18 at the Berger Park Coach House.  The festival featured seven Chicago playwrights who partnered with directors to workshop seven new, full-length plays.  We were excited to offer these playwrights the opportunity to develop their work in progress and partnership with directors and actors.

Featured plays:
Sasha Dune by Lisa Scott
Light by Jarrin Davis
Kate’s Dates by Kate Loftus, adapted by JD Ostergaard
Investigate and Protect by Liz Ellison
Endangered by David Alex
The Newlyweds by Wendy Schmidt
Joint Attention by Pat Curtis

The Results are in the numbers:
7 Playwrights
7 Directors
5 Stage Managers
2 Dramaturgs
41 Actors
178 Audience Members
1 Play Receiving a Full Length Production

 

Past 2013 Workshops


March 25 to 30, 2013

Sasha Dune by Lisa Scott

Directed by Jason Paul Smith

Stage Manager:  Rachel Ramirez

Performance Date: March 30 at 7:00pm

Featuring:  Sommer Austin,  Joel Behne,  Katie Korby,  Matt Lloyd,  Amanda Raquel Martinez,  Darren Stephens,  and  Darryl Warren*

* The Actor is appearing courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers.

Amanda Raquel Martinez played Cessily with Sasha Dune Playwright Lisa Scott

Amanda Raquel Martinez played Cessily with Sasha Dune Playwright Lisa Scott

With the United States collapsed into war, a rescue effort set against the backdrop of a combat-ravaged Midwest brings three troubled souls together.  But when their hopes for the future are revealed as illusions, they struggle to redefine for themselves a meaningful life.

Passion, honor, and sympathy are pitted against the bleakness of solitude after the modern world has fallen apart.  The three travelers test each other’s ideals and morality as they converge on the road to Indianapolis: sex, family, and compassion, selfishness, loneliness and abuse clash before the tension of a struggle to survive.

Lisa Scott Lisa Scott, Playwright

Lisa Scott is a playwright and storyteller. She is a Network Playwright with the Chicago Dramatists (and so glad that Chicago has such a great playwrighting resource). Her play, Sasha Dune, has been long in the works, and she is so lucky to have this opportunity to take it to the next level. Thank you to Jason and Three Cat!

 jasonpaulsmithJason Paul Smith, Director

Jason Paul Smith has directed film, cabaret, and theater across the United States. He is founder and Artistic Director of Three Cat Productions. He has produced and directed many Chicago productions including a cabaret and theater series at the Skokie Theater Music Foundation. He recently was awarded a 2009 Ragdale Residency for the documentary entitled “Don’t Mess with Bill: The Story of Dorothy Fairbairn”.


 

April 1 to 6, 2013

Light by Jarrin Davis

Directed by John Glover
Stage Manager:  Rachel Ramirez

Performance Date: April 6 at 7:00pm

Featuring:    Valerie Banks, Jamel Booth,  Deveon Bromby, Marc A. Rogers, Jeffrey Timms and Penelope Walker *

* The Actor is appearing courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers.

The cast of Jarrin Davis's play Light.

The cast of Jarrin Davis’s play Light.

 At the center of Light pluses the lives of two sisters; one who finds her comfort in the rhythms of the street, while the other the whispering of her church. Their inevitable collision causes a riveting clash which threatens everything one African-American family believes in.

Set in the late 1990s in an inner city living room in Omaha Nebraska, the estranged sister returns home after a two year absence and suggests a mysterious plan. This sets off a conflagration of misunderstandings which if carried out, has the potential to either reward or destroy the family. Weaving an intricate web of humor and raw emotion, good versus evil is only the beginning of Light; which sparkles with nuance and sings with some of the finest poetry found in any modern play.

Jarrin Davis, Playwright

_Jarrin Face

Jarrin Davis is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Theater. Upon graduation, he was offered the position of Artistic Director at Omaha Center Stage where he worked for nine years and directed over 30 productions. While there, his production of Ain’t Misbehavin’ won first prize in the Toyama International Theater Festival held in Toyama City, Japan. Not only did the production win top honors from 66 other countries’ best performance entries, Davis was also named Best Director at this prestigious International Festival. As playwright, his first play Son of a Distant Moon has received performances in New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC, while his latest play, The Second Bullet Hole is in its final stages of development.

John Glover, Director

john-gloverJohn Glover a native of Dayton, Ohio, has been an actor and director in Indiana and Ohio regional theaters for many years. He served as the Director of the Purdue University Theater Company from 1988 to 1993, and in 1989, he had the honor of directing the grand opening of the Theater at the Center in Munster, Indiana. In addition to the university setting, John has directed for several community theaters across Chicagoland and northwest Indiana. A long time resident of Chicago, John is an avid fan and patron of Chicago theater.

 


April 8 to April 13, 2013

Kate’s Dates by Kate Loftus, Adapted by J.D. Ostergaard

Directed by Jason Paul Smith

Performance Date: April 13 at 7:00pm

Featuring: Adithi Chandrashekar, Alicia Ciuffini, Amy Dellagiarino, and Timothy Steinmetz

The cast of Kate's Dates by J.D. Ostergaard.

The cast of Kate’s Dates by J.D. Ostergaard.

Adapted from the blog of Kate Loftus, Kate’s Dates explores how to survive the learning curve of dating through a series of vignettes.  Loftus, a Midwestern transplant to LA, recorded her experiences on the dating scene there and wound up with a stable of humorous stories perfectly suited to a stage adaptation.

From inappropriately honest to overly confident to completely oblivious, the suitors in Kate’s Dates supply a diverse catalogue of comedic dating disasters.  As each encounter unfolds, flaws are bared, characters learn from their mistakes, and audiences revel in the schadenfreude of a universal human experience.  (Kate’s Dates will be produced later this spring by the Waltzing Mechanics.)

 urlJ.D. Ostergaard, Playwright

J.D. is thrilled to be writing his very first adaptation.  He hails from the suburb of Naperville, went to Ball State University for Theater and Television production, which took him to Los Angeles where he worked on ‘The Office’, ‘Designed to Sell’ and ‘Eagle Eye’, but missed the Midwest too much.  He recently moved from planning the Movies in the Parks program for the Chicago Park District to managing the Berger Park Cultural Center.  He would like to thank his friends for not abandoning him despite being booked for months at a time and encourages everyone to check out “Kate’s Dates” in full production in June and July at the Greenhouse Theater in Lincoln Park.  Thanks for supporting theater and continue to tell stories to anyone willing to listen; they’re way more interesting than the weather.

jasonpaulsmithJason Paul Smith, Director

Jason Paul Smith has directed film, cabaret, and theater across the United States. He is founder and Artistic Director of Three Cat Productions. He has produced and directed many Chicago productions including a cabaret and theater series at the Skokie Theater Music Foundation. He recently was awarded a 2009 Ragdale Residency for the documentary entitled “Don’t Mess with Bill: The Story of Dorothy Fairbairn”.

April 14 to April 20, 2013

Investigate and Protect by Liz Ellison

Directed by Jacque Lueken

Performance Date: April 20 at 12:00pm

Featuring:  Mikah Berky, Sarah Brooks, William Czerwionka, Danon Dastugue,  Alex Fthenakis, Colin Funk, Kyle Geissler, and Daniel Lehner

 

Investigate and Protect follows the struggles of a mother struggling to come to terms with her past addiction.  Now sober, she is still haunted by losses endured during her dependence, and wrestles to take responsibility for her circumstances.  Darkly comic, harsh, and poignant, Ellison’s script is an unrelenting look at coping with mistakes and learning to move forward.

 ellison-3Liz Ellison, Playwright
Liz Ellison is a Chicago-based playwright and screenwriter. She is a 2012-2013 Core Apprentice at the Playwrights’ Center. Her screenplay FAULT ZONE won a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and her plays have been developed and produced in Chicago, New York, Omaha, Aspen, and Ypsilanti, MI. She has been a semifinalist for the Princess Grace Award and a three-time O’Neill National Playwrights Conference semifinalist. Her work appears in the Vintage Books anthology SHORTER, FASTER, FUNNIER. She is a member of Courier 12 Collective and Chicago Writers Bloc. Liz holds a B.A. in theater and English from Dartmouth College and an M.F.A. in dramatic writing from Carnegie Mellon University, where she was a recipient of the Steven Bochco Fellowship.

 Jacque Lueken, Director

Jacque Lueken is a director and teaching artist who received her BFA in Acting from Syracuse University. Upon graduation she moved to Chicago to work with Steppenwolf Theatre Co as Asst. Coordinator for their summer acting intensive. Since being in the city, Jacque has directed numerous shows with companies including TYA at Apple Tree Theatre, Noble Fool Performing Arts Academy, VPT, Emergency Theatre Co and Three Cat Education. She has worked in theatre education as a teaching artist with American Theatre Company, Apple Tree Theatre, Noble Fool Theatricals Performing Arts Academy, Emerald City Theatre Co and After School Matters. Jacque also is Executive Director of Three Cat Education, where she writes and directs original scripts for youth productions and summer camps.

April 29 to May 4, 2013

Endangered by David Alex

Directed by Jarrin Davis
Stage Managed by Lorenzo Black

Featuring: Cate Gillespie, Michael Hampton, Sara Pavlak, Mike Rogalski, Tonya Simmons, and Jean Waller

Performance Date: May 4 at 7:00pm

Mary, home on military leave, has announced to her family her engagement to Lizbeth. Her father refuses to embrace the decision and the lifestyle it reflects. Her mother suffers his verbal abuse in silence. The family’s relationship deteriorates.

Tensions increase as the family clashes over personality, lifestyle, lies and hypocrisy, as the characters in Endangered find the strength to stand up for their beliefs. When order is restored to their animal world, it is Mary’s zoologist and zoo docent grandparents who have the final word.

 David Alex, Playwright

David Alex  PHOTO 2David Alex’s award winning plays have been staged in several cities. He has received three grants from the Illinois Arts Council and one from the Pilgrim Foundation, an award for plays that deal with issues of moral significance. Recent productions include ENDS, an African-American Theatre Festival Award Winner (Univ. of Louisville), at New Jersey Repertory Company and Bowen Park Theatre Co., ADRIFT at Chicago’s Greenhouse Theater Center, ONTO INFNITY at Chicago’s Greenhouse Theatre and Waukegan’s Bowen Park Theatre Company; THE VISITORS, Love Creek Productions, THE SECOND-OLDEST PROFESSION (musical book), Tesseract Theatre, and BY THE RIVERS OF BABYLON at the Chicago Playwrights’ Center. Dramatic Publishing has published two of his plays and one monologue. He is a former Secretary of the Illinois Theatre Association and Chicago Alliance for Playwrights and a member of the Jeff Awards Committee that recognizes excellence in Chicago theatre. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild. A complete list of synopses, reviews and awards is available on his website; www.davidalex.net.

 Jarrin Davis, Director

_Jarrin FaceJarrin Davis is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Theater. Upon graduation, he was offered the position of Artistic Director at Omaha Center Stage where he worked for nine years and directed over 30 productions. While there, his production of Ain’t Misbehavin’ won first prize in the Toyama International Theater Festival held in Toyama City, Japan. Not only did the production win top honors from 66 other countries’ best performance entries, Davis was also named Best Director at this prestigious International Festival. As playwright, his first play Son of a Distant Moon has received performances in New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC, while his latest play, The Second Bullet Hole is in its final stages of development.

May 6 to May 11, 2013

The Newlyweds by Wendy Schmidt

Directed by Barbe Marshall
Stage Managed by Lorenzo Black

Featuring: Dave Belden, Nick Block, Adithi Chandrashekar, Cat Dean, Alex Fthenakis, Timothy Steinmetz, and Lisa Witmer

Performance Date: May 11 at 7:00pm

A hapless bridesmaid, inspired by the arrival of a mysterious guest, sets off on a quest to improve her fortunes — triggering everyone involved to question what really makes them happy. Set in a farcical world where people aspire to be members of wedding parties, and brides and grooms sit atop the social hierarchy, Wendy Schmidt’s The Newlyweds explores the power of the status quo and the importance of questioning authority.

 Wendy Schmidt. Photo by Andrew Collings.Wendy Schmidt, Playwright

Wendy Schmidt is a Network Playwright with Chicago Dramatists, a member of Courier 12 Collective, and the Dramatists Guild.  A freelance graphic designer by trade, she has been writing plays for over a decade. Recently her radio play, Goose Noir, was recorded live at Chicago Dramatists for the February episode of Small Fish Radio Theatre, and will appear in the Atlanta Fringe Festival May 27.

 contact_headshot_barbe-marshallBarbe Marshall, Director

Barbe Marshall has been directing theatre for twenty years. In San Francisco,  she worked with the American Conservatory Theatre, Magic Theatre, San Francisco’s Playwrights’ Center, Aurora Theatre, EXIT Theatre and Adda Clevenger School for the Performing Arts. In the Minneapolis area, she has worked with The Guthrie, The Xperimental Theatre, Chameleon, Hamline University Theatre, St. Olaf Theatre, Applause, Penumbra, Mu Arts, Red Eye Collaboration, Minneapolis Community and Technical College and the University of Minnesota. Recent directing credits include Ruhl’s “Eurydice;” “Jesus Christ Superstar;” Mee’s “Requiem,”, “True Love”, “Bacchae” and “Orestes”; “The Flies;” Ludlam’s “Medea;” “Art;” and “Speed-the-Plow” among others. Barbe teaches Meisner technique, Viewpoints movement work, and stage direction. Her stage work includes edgy, fast-paced, rock and roll musicals and re-interpretations of classics. Barbe was Development Director for Penumbra Theatre during their 4 year restructuring plan, when they retired nearly $600,000 in old debt, and during their New Era Campaign which secured more than $3 million. In 2008, she became Director of Development for History Theatre during their Turnaround Plan which retired half a million dollars in old debt, while building $700,000 in reserve. She is currently Executive Director for Twin Rivers Center for the Arts, and Executive Producer for Sample Night Live. Barbe holds a BFA in Music Theatre from the University of Nebraska and an MFA in Directing from the University of Minnesota.

 

May 13 to May 18, 2013

Joint Attention by Pat Curtis

Directed by John Buranosky

Featuring: Jamie Birkner, Emma Robertson, and Timothy Steinmetz
Performance Date: May 18 at 7:00pm

When a young couple’s son is diagnosed with autism, they grapple to face the extraordinary challenges that follow.  Wrestling with conflicting medical opinions and an abundance of inconsistent information, their relationship becomes strained, and they discover that life’s normal issues won’t wait while they struggle to understand their son’s condition.

Joint Attention explores the pitfalls of a still unfamiliar and misunderstood condition, and the dedication and determination required to address it.

 headshot 1_1Pat Curtis, Playwright

Pat is a Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. The inspiration for Joint Attention came from her work as a school psychologist in Oak Park, where she encountered many families dealing with the devastating effects of autism, and was often touched by the heroism and determination with which they sought treatment for their children. Pat’s ten minute comedy, Sibling Ribaldry, was produced by Second City as part of their “Best of the Tens” showcase in November, 2012. In addition to playwriting, Pat is an avid theater-goer, who cherishes the joyous little epiphanies that live theater inspires in its audience.

 John Buranosky, Director

John Buranosky has been involved with theatrical productions throughout the Chicagoland area for over 25 years. Having been on the stage and behind the scenes, he is familiar with many facets of the theater process. Recently, John collaborated with David Csicsko and the Towle Theater where he designed the set and costumes for ROBOT MIKE. He has worked on properties with Hell in a Handbag Productions, Chicago Cultural Center and various regional theaters. His favorite directorial endeavors include: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, GUTENBERG: THE MUSICAL, and SOMETHING’S AFOOT. John was last seen onstage as Aldolpho in his Northern Indiana Excellence in Theater nominated performance in THE DROWSY CHAPERONE.