Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:
Broken Nose Theatre Announces
Full 2018 Line-Up:
By Resident Playwright Michael Allen Harris
Directed by Kanome Jones
THE OPPORTUNITIES OF EXTINCTION
By Sam Chanse
Directed by Company Member Jen Poulin
BECHDEL FEST 6
BNT’s Perennial Feminist Play Festival
Written and Directed by Company Member Spenser Davis
New Residency at The Den Theatre
This spring, BNT presents the kitchen-sink comedy KINGDOM by resident playwright Michael Allen Harris, directed by Kanome Jones. The new play about an all-LGBTQ African American family in Orlando will feature BNT company member Johnard Washington and artistic associates Watson Swift and RjW Mays, and was originally developed through BNT’s The Paper Trail initiative.
Next summer, BNT presents the world premiere of Sam Chanse’s contemplative drama THE OPPORTUNITIES OF EXTINCTION, directed by company member Jen Poulin. The new play about exploring life and love in the face of the inevitable will feature BNT company member Echaka Agba and artistic associate Aria Szalai-Raymond.
Summer 2018 will also include BECHDEL FEST 6, BNT’s annual feminist festival, featuring a full slate of new short plays with all female-identifying casts. Playwrights, directors and casting will be announced in 2018.
Broken Nose closes the calendar year with the world premiere dark comedy PLAINCLOTHES, developed with much of the team behind BNT’s runaway 2017 hit At The Table. Written and directed by company member Spenser Davis, who helmed At The Table, the play examines biases and blind spots through the lens of a loss prevention team. PLAINCLOTHES will feature company members Echaka Agba, Elise Spoerlein, Johnard Washington and David Weiss – all of whom appeared in At The Table – along with company member Martin Hanna and artistic associates RjW Mays, Kim Boler, Adam Soule and Rob Koon, and will be developed by BNT and the ensemble.
In 2018, BNT will also provide institutional support to two outside playwrights through The Paper Trail – its new play development program. Next year’s plays include PEG by Liam Fitzgerald, about a couple who negotiate their kinks in anticipation of an impending shipment of sex toys; and EXPOSURE by Cynthia Hines, in which a former army photographer combats the ghosts of war that followed her home to the South Side of Chicago.
As it enters its sixth season, Broken Nose recently welcomed 13 new artists to its ranks. New company members include Echaka Agba, Rose Hamill, Martin Hanna and Johnard Washington and new artistic associates include Kim Boler, JD Caudill, Devon Green, Ada Grey, Rob Koon, RjW Mays, Adam Soule and Watson Swift.
“It’s been an exciting year for Broken Nose, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to spend the next one continuing to develop and produce timely new work, and to be able to work with so many talented BNT artists and collaborators. These world premieres range from Florida’s tourist capital to the desolation of the Mojave desert to downtown Chicago, yet despite their geography they remind us, sometimes warmly, sometimes starkly, of the things that matter most: love, human connection and survival.”
Tickets for all Broken Nose Theatre productions are available on a “pay-what-you-can” basis, allowing patrons to set their own price and ensuring theatre remains economically accessible for all audiences. Tickets for all productions will go on sale at a later date. For additional information, visit brokennosetheatre.com.
Broken Nose Theatre’s Full 2018 Line-Up Includes:
March 2 – March 31, 2018
KINGDOM – World Premiere!
By BNT resident playwright Michael Allen Harris
Directed by Kanome Jones
Featuring BNT company member Johnard Washington and artistic associates Watson Swift and RjW Mays.
When the state of Florida legalizes same sex marriage, Arthur and Henry (his partner of fifty years) come to terms with their differing opinions on the necessity of becoming husbands, even as their son Alexander finds himself wading through some rough new waters of his own. KINGDOM is the story of an entirely-LGBTQ African American family that lives in the near-literal shadow of Orlando’s magical kingdom, as they struggle to create a life together that captures a little bit of that same magic.
KINGDOM was developed in conjunction with The Paper Trail, BNT’s new play development program.
June 2 – June 30, 2018
THE OPPORTUNITIES OF EXTINCTION
By Sam Chanse
Directed by BNT company member Jen Poulin
Featuring BNT company member Echaka Agba and artistic associate Aria Szalai-Raymond.
A couple flees to the Mojave Desert in the wake of a social media firestorm. A young woman obsessively studies the oncoming impact of climate change. As the world heats up, tensions rise and the political becomes indistinguishable from the environmental, these three find one another in the shadow of the endangered Joshua tree, wondering how long they have before everything falls apart.
BECHDEL FEST 6
BNT’s perennial favorite feminist festival returns! As with the last five iterations, BECHDEL FEST 6 will feature an all female-identifying cast performing new short plays written and directed by some of our favorite artists, and all passing the famous Bechdel Test. Created by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, the Bechdel Test asks whether a work of entertainment features at least two women in conversation about something other than a man. Playwrights, directors and casting to be announced in 2018.
October 20 – November 17, 2018
PLAINCLOTHES – World Premiere!
Written and directed by BNT company member Spenser Davis
Featuring BNT company members Echaka Agba, Elise Spoerlein, Martin Hanna, Johnard Washington and David Weiss and artistic associates RjW Mays, Kim Boler, Adam Soule and Rob Koon.
After an incident with a shoplifter ends with half their team either fired or in the hospital, the loss prevention department of a downtown Chicago retail store comes under harsh investigation from corporate. Their manager’s suggestion: “Start catching more white people. At least until they stop looking at the numbers.” When a group of supposed Good Guys have a blind spot that lands them on the chopping block, who holds themselves accountable and who decides to give the higher-ups a taste of the trenches? In the style of BNT’s 2017 hit At The Table, PLAINCLOTHES will be developed alongside its pre-cast ensemble.
Additional casting for the season will be announced at a later date.
PHOTO CREDIT: Broken Nose Theatre’s 2018 playwrights and directors (left to right) Kanome Jones, Michael Allen Harris, Jen Poulin, Sam Chanse and Spenser Davis.
About the Artists
Michael Allen Harris (Playwright, Kingdom) As a writer, Michael has collaborated with Chicago Theatre companies such as Broken Nose Theatre, Jackalope Theatre, Arc Theatre, Stage 773, Fine Print Theatre, Chicago Home Theater Festival and The New Colony. His play Rocky Road received its world premiere at the New Studio Theatre of Columbia College Chicago and was directed by Chicago actor/playwright/director Tom Mula. It was the first production featured in the Main Stage season that was authored by an alumnus. His play The Velvet Tabernacle was featured in a development series on behalf of Fine Print Theatre. One of his most recent plays, Kingdom, was nourished in a season-long development on behalf of Broken Nose Theatre, and received a staged reading at the Richard Christiansen theatre space of Victory Gardens in June 2016. In the fall of 2017, his play Punk receive its world premiere on behalf of The New Colony, where he recently became an ensemble member. In December of 2016, Michael became the first Resident Playwright of Broken Nose Theatre. His other plays include Ascension. Short plays include: The Woman Who Stared into The Eyes of the Red Horseman, House of Samurai, They Let Him Bleed, Project Agatha (a collaboration project based on Regina Taylor’s play Stop. Reset.) and Bind. As an actor, he has worked with numerous Chicago theaters such as Adventure Stage, Eclipse Theatre, Gift Theatre, Teatro Vista, The-Massive, Stone Soup Theatre Project, Infusion Theatre, Broken Nose Theatre and Cold Basement Dramatics. He is an artistic ensemble member of Eclipse Theatre Company. Michael is currently pursuing his MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Kanome Jones (Director, Kingdom) has been performing and working in Chicago for over five years. She works with several theater companies here in the city, wearing different hats for each one. She is the Casting Director for Strawdog Theatre Company and the Associate Producer for Midsommer Flight. She also works with Stage Left Theatre and Waltzing Mechanics as an ensemble member. In the past, Kanomé has worked with Broken Nose Theatre as a performer in their first Bechdel Fest and as a director in their second iteration. She has also directed an installment of EL Stories with the Waltzing Mechanics. Other recent performance credits include Building the Wall and The Firestorm (Stage Left Theatre), understudy in The Book Club Play (16th Street Theatre) Twelfth Night (Midsommer Flight) and Titus Andronicus (Babes with Blades Theatre Company). She is proud alumni of the Professional Training Company at Actors Theatre of Louisville and BFA graduate of Missouri State University.
Sam Chanse’s (Playwright, The Opportunities of Extinction) plays include The Opportunities of Extinction, The Other Instinct, Fruiting Bodies and Lydia’s Funeral Video. A former
Sundance/Ucross Playwright Fellow, MacDowell Fellow, Playwrights Realm Writing Fellow and Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellow at The Lark, she has also received residencies from Djerassi, Tofte Lake Center and SPACE at Ryder Farm. Her work has been recognized by The Kilroys, and commissions include Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan, Ma-Yi/the Flea, Second Generation, Leviathan Lab and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Her first solo play, Lydia’s Funeral Video, is published by Kaya Press. She is a resident playwright at New Dramatists, and a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and Ars Nova’s Play Group. www.samchanse.com.
Jen Poulin (Director, The Opportunities of Extinction) is a Chicago based director and dramaturg, whose recent projects include The River Bride with Halcyon (dramaturg) and What of the Night? with Stage Left and Cor Theatre (assistant director). She previously served as Interim Grants Manager and Artistic Programs Apprentice at American Theater Company and Associate Artistic Director of BackStage Theatre Company. She has worn many hats since earning her Theatre Studies BFA from University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: educator, box office assistant, blood mopper, script mistress, stage and production manager, producer and performer. But her heart belongs to directing, especially new work. As a play reader, she’s worked with Stage Left Theatre, Artemisia Theatre and Kitchen Dog Theater. Her stage management and directing credits span many fine Chicago companies, including Adventure Stage Chicago, Strawdog Theatre Company, Steep Theatre Company, Mary Arrchie Theatre Company and WildClaw Theatre. She is also an Artistic Associate with No Stakes Theater Project.
Spenser Davis (Director/Playwright, Plainclothes) is a company member of Broken Nose Theatre, where he has directed From White Plains, A Phase, Bechdel Fest and At The Table, for which he received the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Director – Play. It won three other Jeff Awards including Best Production, and was given a twice-extended summer remount. Other directing credits include Bachelorette at Level 11; FitzFest and Kafkapalooza at First Floor; numerous editions of the One Minute Play Festival; the forthcoming Lametown at The Factory Theater; as well as work with Strawdog, Otherworld, Mary-Arrchie and Pride Films and Plays. Assistant directing credits include Pilgrim’s Progress and 3C at A Red Orchid, as well as Divine Sister at Hell in a Handbag. As a playwright, he was a finalist for the Actor Theater of Louisville’s Heideman Award, and his first full-length play Merge, about the rise and fall of the video game company Atari, closed The New Colony’s eighth season. He is also an ensemble member of The Factory Theater and has worked around town as an actor. Plainclothes is his second play.
BROKEN NOSE THEATRE is Chicago’s premiere Pay-What-You-Can theatre company. Founded in 2012, BNT has produced and developed 10 full length plays (including 7 Chicago or World Premieres) and over 40 new womencentric short plays through our annual Bechdel Fest. We strive to spark conversation, cultivate empathy, and amplify underrepresented voices, and are committed to making new, exciting and relevant theatre that is economically accessible to all audiences.
For more information, please visit brokennosetheatre.com.