BEHIND THE SCENES: Meet Playwright Blake Levinson
A Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, Blake Levinson’s psychodrama 3-WAY MIRROR was performed early 2014 as a staged reading in Three Cat Productions’ Chicago New Work Festival. His play ORNA-MENTAL was also produced this past December at Chicago’s Greenhouse Theater in Hobo Junction’s sixth annual holiday short play festival.
Levinson’s full-length play BY REASON OF SANITY had several staged readings last year that included Chicago Dramatists’ Saturday Series and Writers’ Bloc New Play Festival at Next Theatre in Evanston, IL. This 2-character drama about two battered women was also the subject of an article entitled ‘Before the Curtain Rises’ by theater & film critic Pamela Powell and has been used as an out-of-the-box training tool for mental health care professionals at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Social Work and the College of Lake County’s Department of Human Services & Social Work.
Blake was a drama major in college and studied acting and Improv as an adult with Joyce and Byrne Piven for over half a decade at the legendary Piven Theatre Workshop. He helped co-found the Improv group Slippery When Wet and is now a member of the Improv group Bodhi Language. He is a certified Laughter Yoga instructor and founder of the laughter-inspiring website Hamasté—The Funny bone in me tickles the funny bone in you. He’s now adapting a children’s picture book he wrote into a children’s musical for the stage and is writing a humorous adult stage play about George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
In the daylight, Blake is an award-winning copywriter who learned his lessons well at some of the largest ad agencies in the world including Leo Burnett, Foote Cone & Belding and BBDO.
Creating The Lost Bar Mitzvah Speech of Jesus
One of the main themes in The Lost Bar Mitzvah Speech of Jesus is that, for one reason or another, people want to believe they’re better than other people. And so considering all of the growing hate and darkness in the world today, who better than Jesus, a card-carrying member of the Chosen, to begin shining some light on this questionable thinking?
The process of Holiday Stories has once again reinforced my belief in the power of collaboration. It’s always difficult letting go of your baby when you initially place it in the care of the director and actors.Fortunately, my director Jason and my Jesus Tim were very gentle and very talented and they regularly found new ways to positively expand the limits of what I had thought was possible when I first wrote the script. Thanks to them and the audiences, I continue to learn what works and what doesn’t and realize that this play has the potential to be expanded into a larger piece. Jesus be praised.
(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.)