by Doug Wright
Directed by Andrew Volkoff
ABOUT FACE THEATRE
at THEATRE WIT, Stage 3
November 4 thru December 10
Originally written and staged for one performer, our production works under a new that I brought to Andrew back in October 2015. We have a multiple-actor cast with a transgender person (in this case, myself) portraying Charlotte, and the remaining 30+ roles played by other actors. We "test drove" the idea at a successful play reading back in April, and after receiving permission from playwright Doug Wright, the production was officially announced on June 20th as the first show in About Face's 2016-17 season.
"The Subject" a Play Reading
by Carolyn Kras
directed by Lavina Jadhwani,
Post-show discussion facilitated by Lori Myers, founder, Not In Our House.
Pride Arts Center, "The Broadway" theatre, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL
September 10, 2 p.m. Totally FREE admission, NO RSVP.
This play reading was part of an international event protesting rape & domestic abuse.
I read the part of Queen Charlotte (Queen of England when George III ruled). A couple rehearsals, and just one performance.
I also performed the social media PR on Facebook, and designed the graphic (seen above).
This event also marked the Chicago premiere of a great new play, read by a stellar Chicago cast, including: Carmen Molina, Kenzie Seibert, Adithi Chandrashekar, Ayssette Munoz, Sofia Tew, Netta Walker, Delia Kropp, Martel Manning, Kris Hyland, Larry Baldacci, Donterrio Johnson, Aila Peck.
A couple of interesting smaller projects this month.
All roles are cisgender female.
"Albert Cashier", at The Chicago Music Theatre Festival
The Transcivility of Albert Cashier
by Jay Paul Deratany
Music & lyrics by Coyote Joe Stevens
Directed by Keaton Wooden
Perhaps the first documented female-to-male transgender American, Albert served for years in the Civil War, and then lived their entire life as a man. Only when hospitalized late in life was their secret revealed.
I portray a sort of early 20th century Nurse Ratchet. Nice to play the baddie (now and then).
Note: this is very much a rehearsal-in-progress format. You sit right on stage with us as we work through the music and script, and participate in talk-backs after.
Co.Ex.Ist for Collaboraction Peacebook
CO.EX.IST devised by Danielle Littman and Diana Raiselis
Friday August 26
Saturday August 27
7 p.m. at Clarendon Park, 4501 N. Clarendon
I'm performing in one of these several short works all about Chicago.
"Littman and Raiselis are interviewing Uptown residents, business owners and workers with a central question: What does it mean for Uptown residents to coexist? The answers will be shaped into a hyper-local performance piece that touches on not only the neighborhood's concerns, but also its gifts, strengths and joys."
Steamboat Springs CO: Perry Mansfield New Works Festival, June 5 - 12
Chicago, American Theatre Company (ARACA Productions) June 24-30
I had the honor to participate in the development of a terrific new play not once, but twice in the same month. Both were week-long workshops with fine actors overseen by professional directors. Through discussion and reading the work really evolved and grew. I came to love my character, Francesca, a transgender woman confronting her ex-wife for the first time in 17 years, as her already memorable scene became truly gripping and heart-breaking.
First Workshop, Steamboat Springs
Our play was presented by The Lark Theatre Company, New York City, NY, one of five theatres participating in the New Works Festival. Here I first met playwright Mary Elizabeth Hamilton, and five talented New York actors most of whom knew director John Eisner from past Lark projects. Readings were interspersed with intense discussions about the ideas at hand, and the progression of the main character. Our one public performance in the Julie Harris Theatre, attended by other work-shoppers and a few folks from the town, was well received. I was excited about the chance to act before accomplished theatre professionals from all across America, and feel I did justice to our week's work.
Below, a few photos from the fun week:
Second Workshop: Chicago
A few days after my return home I was contacted by American Theatre Company here to workshop this play again! The playwright put my name forward as a candidate for Francesca and so on June 24th I sat down with a whole new cast and director in our rehearsal room at About Face Theatre.
Director Sean Graney was keen to explore the more visceral and emotional aspects of the work, and to clarify some story points. The Chicago cast, all but one of them totally new to me, jumped in feet first and brought interesting ideas and interpretations to the table. I had the opportunity to visit and confer more with Mary about my character, and by week's end, the Francesca scene had undergone a major face-lift, with perhaps 75% of the wordage revised. Our public staged reading-on the ATC stage was warmly received by theatre professionals. The "Francesca" scene moved many audience members to tears.
Below is a photograph of the Chicago cast, taken just before the performance by Mary. Director Sean Graney is standing in the middle.