by Richard Engling
Polarity Ensemble Theatre is already deep into a season of all-new-plays-all-the-time, and I am very excited. We are totally immersed in new scripts by Chicago playwrights, and we are working with some wonderful material. We started our season early this year at the Greenhouse Theatre Center with a critically-heralded world premiere of David Alex’s Adrift, directed by Polarity’s own Maggie Speer in a co-production with Azusa Productions, July 26 – August 26. I’d been wanting to produce a play by Mr. Alex since we first worked with him in 2008. Many thanks to the Illinois Arts Council who offered a grant that helped make the production possible!
Next up we’ve got two Polarity projects in development. On November 16 and 17 we will present a staged reading of Darren Callahan’s Beautiful Women in Terrible Trouble. A truly exciting project that you can read about in our last blog post. Please join us for that. Click here for tickets.On November 30th we present a workshop presentation of my script, Anna in the Afterlife directed by Beth Wolf, artistic director of Promethean Theatre Ensemble. Anna was seen in an earlier incarnation as Absolution in our 2011 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays. The play has been re-envisioned as a result of feedback from that event, as well as further table readings with Polarity members and friends as well as critique sessions from director Susan Padveen, playwright and director Darren Callahan and my long-time collaborator Ann Keen. I am very excited to put it up before a public audience once again. Please join us to help shape this script as it moves toward a world premiere production. The cast will include Kim Boler, Molly Lyons, Meghann Tabor, Richard Engling, Tristan Brandon, Catherine Hermes, Caroline Rau, Tina Thuerwachter, Martin Michaels, Jared Dennis and Julia Farrell. Click here for tickets.
Meanwhile we’ve read 55 scripts submitted by Chicago area playwrights to select the 4 that will be presented in the 2013 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays. What a wonderful collection of fine new work! It was tremendously difficult to narrow it down to 10 semifinalists. And I have to say, I feel sad about some of the scripts that were excluded. But I am delighted with the brilliant and talented staff we have for this year’s festival. Jen Poulin, Josh Sobel, David Amaral and Billy Bullion will be directing. Michael Manocchio, April-Dawn Gladu, Sarah Grant and Brittany Westfall will be dramaturgs. They are now working with me to reduce our 10 semifinalists to the 4 scripts that will be featured in the festival. The 10 semifinalists are: Badfic Love by Adam Pasen, Blisters on My Fingers by Jeremy Schaefer, Miracles in the Fall by Chuck O’Connor, More Than a House by Jane Goldenberg, Netta at Ninety by Susan Lieberman, Once Upon a Time in Detroit by Steven Simoncic, The Runaway Gene by Skye Robinson Hillis, Traveller of Tenby by Jenny Seidelman, White America by Reginald Edmund and Witness to an Accident by Darren Callahan. We will announce the 4 finalists in January. the Festival will run in May. Good luck to all the playwrights!
Most exciting of all, we are preparing for the world premiere of Bill Jepsen’s Never the Bridesmaid. Directed by award-winning director, Richard Shavzin, and featuring a hilariously talented cast, Never the Bridesmaid is a sweet, funny, life-affirming comedy by Chicago playwright Bill Jepsen. The script was featured and developed in our 2011 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays. It will run February 26th through April 7th. The stellar cast includes Kristin Danko, Daria Harper, Catherine Hermes, Nick Lake. Lindsey Pearlman, Brian Plocharczyk and Steve Pringle.
And for something completely different, Polarity’s new assistant to the artistic director Julia Farrell is putting together He Knows … Really Good Christmas Stories! For the first time ever, you and your children can join Polarity for a night of hot cocoa, pajamas and some good old fashioned bedtime Christmas stories! Read to us by our jolly narrator and his helpful carolers, we will snuggle up and listen to Twas the Night before Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph and many other holiday classics! General admission is $5, and children under the age of 2 get to enjoy the evening for free. And don’t forget to bring the camera, Mom and Dad. Santa might show up to help us celebrate the happiest season of all! Saturday, December 8, 7pm. Click here for tickets.
And speaking of new work, our old friend Mason Hill (Polarity’s Iago, Hamlet, Stanley Kowalski and Korin Goda) is working toward producing a new motion picture called Metal of Victory. He’s got a very amusing Kickstarter page to check out about the movie.
Mason, along with his New York based film company are producing their first full length feature film intended for a wide national release. Medal of Victory is a farcical action comedy about two soldiers who go AWOL after accidentally shipping nuclear bomb components to Malawi instead of food rations. While on the run they are mistaken for war heroes and thrust into a heated small town election. Mason will also be playing one of the lead roles in the movie. The film starts principal photography late this spring and is intended for a wide national release. The Midwest born Production Company is nearing the end of a crucial Kickstarter campaign to supplement investment in the film. Check it out and see if you can give them a hand.