OCTAGON by Kristiana Rae Colón now playing at Jackalope Theatre
TIME OUT SAYS
5 out of 5 stars
BY: ALEX HUNTSBERGER
When these seven slam poets battle it out, Chicago audiences are the real winners.For some time now, the vaunted “we say it to their faces” Chicago style of theatre has really been shorthand for “middle-aged white people yelling at each other.” And while that might have seemed pretty radical 30 years ago, in 2016 the “Chicago style” either has to evolve, or it has to die.
Here’s the good news: That evolution is well under way. If you want proof, just head up to the Broadway Armory and sit your ass down for Kristiana Rae Colón’s Octagon, in its scorching U.S. premiere from director-to-watch Tara Branham. Though Colón is a Chicagoan, her play had its premiere in London in 2015. But Octagon is Chicago style for a new generation: one that’s younger, more diverse, and woke as hell.
Read the full review.
3½ out of 4 Stars for Octagon from the Chicago Tribune, Kerry Reid
"Made of spit and spirit, cunning and chaos, deliverance and destruction, Kristiana Rae Colon's "Octagon" takes apart the world of slam poetry with bravado and brio. Though at times self-indulgent, self-conscious and insufficiently clear in its exploration of sexual politics — well, that too feels honest to the characters onstage. They're learning how to read between the lines of their relationships even as they're shouting what they insist is their truth into a microphone.
Colon, a Chicago-based writer and organizer, premiered this play with London's Arcola Theatre in September 2015. But it's fitting that it should land home here in Chicago, just a mile and a half up the road from the Green Mill, where Marc Smith gets credit for inventing the "poetry slam." Jackalope Theatre's sweaty, exuberant and at times frustrating production, directed by Tara Branham, functions in part as a guide to the roots of the slam."
Read full review.
A Review of Octagon at Jackalope Theatre, Kevin Greene, Newcity Stage
Describing the sensorial impact of Kristiana Rae Colón’s work is like trying to express the experience of being struck by lightning. You can break it down to its elements, reassemble it for purposes of diagrams and analysis but good luck getting that fire into a jar.
Her third premiere in as many months (following “good friday” at Oracle and a staged reading of “Florissant & Canfield” at the Goodman New Stages Festival), “Octagon” is the most personal and affecting work of them all. It deepens the playwright’s thematic concerns of media as a conduit for social change, the limitations of protest and the petty narcissism of artists, while exacting truth brutally and brutality truthfully.
As a theater artist, Colón is unmatched in a city that has no shortage of local talent. A master of simultaneous dialogue, her writing is disruptive both socially and dramatically. It shakes audiences from the comfort of conventions with furious, ugly beauty, the theatrical equivalent of watching Pollock paint. Like “Florissant,” “Octagon” blurs the lines between documentary realism and subjective nightmare. It becomes impossible to distinguish between hallucinations and machinations, the dreamers and schemers looking and sounding so alike that they themselves don’t seem to know which they are.
Read full review.
Chagrin Falls by NU alumna, Mia McCullough explores psychology of working in a slaughterhouse, on death row
Play written by NU alumna explores psychology of working in a slaughterhouse, on death row
by Hayley Krolik, Reporter, The Daily Northwestern
October 27, 2016
"McCullough originally wrote “Chagrin Falls” in the ‘90s, and it was produced in 2001 at the Stage Left Theatre in Chicago. She explained, at the time, theaters were prioritizing world premieres over subsequent productions, and “Chagrin Falls” was not brought back to the stage until its current rendition.
The new version came together after McCullough met Austin in an all female stand-up comedy class in Chicago. They worked together on a few comedy projects over the years, and Austin said she thought of McCullough and her writing when she needed to pick a new play for the Collective.
“This play is just really near and dear to my heart, and it’s so nice to see it having a life again,” McCullough said. “It was really hard back in the early 2000s when ‘Chagrin Falls’ was a huge success, but all anybody wanted to do was my other plays. We playwrights called it ‘world premiere-itis.’”
McCullough said she enjoys writing plays like “Chagrin Falls” that relate to social or political issues, but added that she focuses on the characters rather than the issue itself. She also employs humor to lighten the mood while emphasizing the darker topics she tends to write about.
One of McCullough’s favorite aspects of the play’s cast is its ability to find the humor mixed into the sadness of the play, she said. Jennifer Cheung, who plays Patrice, said McCullough’s support has been one of the main reasons the rehearsal process has gone smoothly."
Read the article.
Chagrin Falls by Mia McCullough is playing at The Agency Theater Collective
Brujos is written by Ricardo Gamboa and is co-directed by Ricardo Gamboa and Reshmi Hazra Rustebakke
A brujo is a sorcerer or witch in Mexican tradition; however, Gamboa insists that using the word superstition is a disservice. "There's an impulse to reduce other spiritual beliefs to the terms of western rationality and call something a superstition," Gamboa said. "Is gravity a superstition? Because we can't see it."
"The ideas of Brujos are sown into everyday life for Latinos," he said. "It's not uncommon for someone with a string of bad luck to say they have ojo, or for your grandmother to grab an egg and perform a blessing on you."
Gamboa's challenge has been finding funding for the project without sacrificing any creative control. He's passionate about remaining independent, and ensuring that queer people of color have the artistic helm. "You'll often see a white guy behind the camera because they're given certain resources and networks of support that are denied to socially marginalized groups," he said. "I don't see the industry trying to honestly include new people, without reducing those people to their terms. So what we have to do is support each other."
With bigotry sparking new headlines everyday within the Trump campaign, and with the loss of hundreds of queer men and women to gun violence in Orlando still fresh in our minds, Gamboa is aiming to provide more than fluffy entertainment. Brujos is an answer to hate speech and violence, and a call for young artists to produce.
"I work to make myself obsolete. My job is to get out of the way," Gamboa said, "the work I've done has paved roads, but I'm not going to be a toll booth to any young artists. My students will all be better directors, better teachers, better performers, better writers and better filmmakers than me, and that's what I want."
Read the full article.
Brujos is co-directed by Ricardo Gamboa and Reshmi Hazra Rustebakke and filming for the series will begin in November, employing over 30 queer artists of color. Interested persons can support Brujos by making a donation to the Indiegogo campaign.
Steven Simoncic's critically acclaimed play BROKEN FENCES comes to NiA Theatre Company in Columbia, South Carolina
In a neighborhood on Chicago's deep West Side, the momentum of gentrification has taken hold and things have begun to change forever. As property taxes rise and demographics shift, Hoody and D struggle to keep the only home they have ever known. But when April and Czar -- a white couple intent on starting a family -- buy their first home and move in next door, the very definition of home is called into question. With unflinching honesty and unapologetic humor, Broken Fences attempts to examine identity and invisibility, community and security, hope and hostility in a modern American urban village that is at once foreign, and that these people call home.
5th Wall Productions
The U.S. Premiere of
THE WAY IT IS
by Donna Hoke
All shows 8:00 pm
“I still have time.”
“Yeah, mine. The time you took from me.”
Toyia Brown and Adam Southard star as Yasmine and Cane, a former couple whose breathless encounter unfolds in real time right before our eyes: When Cane returns to the apartment the two once shared, he’s ambushed by Yasmine with a strange demand, and she’s not about to let him go before she gets what she wants.
*This show is recommended for adult audiences only.
Tickets are now on sale for
by Mia McCullough
directed by Sommer Austin
To live in Chagrin Falls, Oklahoma is to be in the killing business…
The town’s major employers are a cattle slaughterhouse and a penitentiary where lethal injection is administered. Whether they work at the slaughterhouse, play preacher or guard to death row inmates, or merely offer a bed and a hot meal to those visiting the prison, each resident of Chagrin Falls makes their living off of death and captivity.
Winner of the 2001 American Theatre Critics Association Osborn Award Chagrin Falls has also received a Joseph Jefferson Award and After Dark Award for Best New Work (2002), as well as a Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best Production and first prize in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition.
October 22nd – December 4th, 2016
The Den Theatre – 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Jackalope Theatre Company
Written by Kristiana Rae Colón
Directed by Tara Branham
Location: Broadway Armory Park: 5917 N Broadway, Chicago, IL
October 19th to November 20th
NEXT ACT! now in it’s fifth year, is an expansion of Capital Repertory Theatre’s commitment to the development of new work and directly reflects the theatre’s mission, “to create meaningful theatre generated from an authentic link to the community.”
Together, theREP and our management partner Proctors will host this fourth annual event with productions at both the GE Theatre at Proctors and on theREP's iconic thrust stage.
This four-day summit will include events highlighting the process of new play development and afford an opportunity for playwrights, directors, actors and composers to share their ideas and passions for the craft of theatre with you, their audience.
October 21 – Friday (at theREP)
Paris Time by Steve Peterson
at 7:30 pm
(Pre & post-show cash bar; post-show mingle with desserts)
Anti-Semitism in today’s France sits at the core of Paris Time. What will transpire when American ex-pat Deborah’s attempts to protect a young Jewish Frenchwoman land her Gentile ex-pat husband in the corporate hot seat? Will he destroy his career to help?
The Madres by Stephanie Alison Walker is a finalist for 2016 Saroyan/Paul Playwriting Prize for Human Rights
ADAA IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE FINALISTS FOR THE $10,000
2016 Saroyan/Paul Playwriting Prize for Human Rights
The Good Minister from Harare by June Carryl
Gutting by Jeremy J. Kamps
The Madres by Stephanie Alison Walker
It's 1979 in Buenos Aires, Argentina where people are disappearing right off the street. The so-called "Dirty War" waged by the military Junta against its own people is in full-swing. Carolina and her mother Josefina are searching for their pregnant daughter/granddaughter, Belén, who has been missing for twelve weeks. When they receive a surprise visit first from a priest who is now the chaplain to the military at ESMA (one of the known concentration camps) and then by a soldier from the neighborhood who is also stationed at ESMA, they come up with a plan to try to see Belén one last time. Will it work? Will they be able to save her baby? Will they be able to save themselves?
From American Theatre Magazine:
New works by Carla Ching, Tearrance Chisholm, David Valdes Greenwood, Allison Gregory, Stephanie Alison Walker, and Amy E. Witting will be featured this year.
"WASHINGTON, D.C.: National New Play Network (NNPN) has announced the lineup for its 2016 National Showcase of New Plays. Hosted by University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Theatre and Dance, the event will run Dec. 9-11 and feature more 40 playwrights, directors, and actors in readings of 6 production-ready new plays to NNPN core and associate members and invited guests.
Established in 2002, the annual three-day event showcases unproduced plays from across the nation. The showcase presents a unique opportunity for production-ready new plays to be viewed by NNPN’s core and associate member artistic and literary leaders, as well as literary agents, publishers, and independent producers. More than 90 percent of the plays featured in previous years have gone on to have a production within the next three seasons, many of them supported as NNPN rolling world premieres.
After enduring a rigorous selection process from among more than 65 original submissions, two rounds of reading, and viewing by NNPN artistic leaders, ambassadors, and affiliated artists, the works to be presented in December are Nomad Motel by Carla Ching, Br’er Cotton by Tearrance Chisholm, The Mermaid Hour by David Valdes Greenwood, Motherland by Allison Gregory, The Madresby Stephanie Alison Walker, and The House on the Hill by Amy E. Witting."
From the Columbia Chronicle
by Ariel Parrella-Aureli
Florrisant and Canfield (by Kristiana Rae Colón) used to be just another a street intersection in Ferguson, Missouri. Now, it is much more.
In 2014, Michael Brown was killed by acquitted police officer Darren Wilson at the intersection. As it became a place for national protests against police brutality, it also inspired a new play by Chicago activist and poet Kristiana Rae Colón.
“Florissant & Canfield” started as new work that was part of the VG Reading Series at Victory Gardens Theater before getting picked up by The Goodman Theatre during its annual playwriting unit for Chicago writers. Now, the play is part of the theater’s New Stages Festival, running from Sept. 21–Oct. 9, and is free to the public. The play will perform as a sold-out staged reading Oct. 9 at the Goodman, 170 N. Dearborn St.
Colón is using this play to move stories of political activism from the streets of Ferguson to the stage—a medium that is still generally geared toward white audiences, she said. While it is a risk, Colón said she is grateful for the chance to have her work performed.
“I am delighted the Goodman has been brave enough to take on such a radical piece of theater,” Colón said.
Read the full article.
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