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Showing posts with label Barbara Gaines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Barbara Gaines. Show all posts

Thursday, January 4, 2018

OPENING: The Good Fight at City Lit Via Babes With Blades Through February 17th

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

BABES WITH BLADES THEATRE COMPANY ANNOUNCES CHICAGO PREMIERE OF
THE GOOD FIGHT AT THE CITY LIT THEATER,
JANUARY 6 – FEBRUARY 17, 2018

A Remarkable True Chapter in the Struggle for Women’s Suffrage:
The English Suffragettes who Learned Jujutsu


running time is 1 hour and 45 minutes 
including intermission

Babes With Blades Theatre Company (BWBTC) has been a favorite of ours here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows for decades! We adore their female centered period pieces and original works, and we're particularly jazzed to see The Good Fight. We're also completely down with their mission statement:

In each element of their programming, BWBTC embraces two key concepts:

1)     Women are central to the story, driving the action rather than responding or submitting to it

2)     Women are capable of a full emotional and physical range, up to and including violence and its consequences.

The company offers participants and patrons alike an unparalleled opportunity to experience women as heroes and villains; rescuers and rescuees; right, wrong, and everywhere in between: exciting, vivid, dynamic PEOPLE. It’s as simple and as subversive as that.

 I'll be out on MLK Day, Monday the 15th, for the press opening, so check back shortly after for my full review. I love that in the microcosm of Chicago's theatre world, this show is coming on the heels of Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's incredible Women's suffrage version of Taming of the Shrew, conceived and directed by the inimitable Barbara Gaines. It's my least favorite Shakespearian work and I'm still stunned and elated that Barbara was able to work some serious magic with this historically problematic, misogynistic piece and turn it into a feminist masterpiece, while remaining true to Shakespeare's original words and themes.

I can't wait to immerse myself in the women's suffrage era once again, with Babes With Blades, and experience a kick ass element of the movement we never learned in school, The English Suffragettes who Learned Jujutsu.





BWBTC continues its 20th Anniversary Season: “Origins” with the Chicago premiere of The Good Fight, playing at City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., January 6 – February 17, 2018.  

Developed in 2011 through BWBTC’s Fighting Words program under the title Deeds Not Words, the play is written by Anne Bertram, executive director of Theatre Unbound, a Minneapolis/St. Paul company devoted to work by and about women. Elizabeth Lovelady, a Jeff Award-winning artist based in Chicago, directs The Good Fight, which features combat by Fight Choreographer Gaby Labotka. Preview performances are Saturday, Jan. 6 at 8 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 7 at 3 p.m., Friday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. Opening Night is Monday, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. Regular performances are Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Preview tickets are $10, student and senior tickets are $15, early bird general admission (available online through January 15, 2018) are $20 and general admission (after January 15, 2018) are $25. To purchase tickets and for more information, please visit BabesWithBlades.org.

The Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel, was the primary militant group pushing for women's suffrage in the United Kingdom. Under the slogan "Deeds, not words," the WSPU advocated targeting property as a form of protest, from smashing shop windows to burning and bombing buildings. Imprisoned WSPU members – including Pankhurst – launched hunger strikes, which were initially countered by the authorities with force-feeding; later the government introduced the "Cat and Mouse Act," under which starving suffragettes were released, only to be re-imprisoned once regaining their health. To defend their leaders and comrades, the WSPU established "The Bodyguard" – a secret, all-female security team, trained in jujutsu – and the good fight began.

So what do British women from the early 20th century have to say to today's audiences?

“They had to arrive at answers for questions that sound awfully familiar: When is it OK to use violence? What difference does it make if women are in power? If you believe a law is unjust, should you break it?” said Playwright Anne Bertram. “It’s also good to remind ourselves about the price these women paid to secure women’s voting rights. They were imprisoned, tortured, force-fed. Some died.”  Adds Director Elizabeth Lovelady, "The US has plenty of problems, but we have so many rights and comforts that women in other parts of the world don't enjoy. During our auditions, as an example of how 'this is still happening,' I frequently referenced the fact that women in Saudi Arabia aren't allowed to drive. But since our auditions took place, the law has changed – and the change was largely influenced by women who broke the law and drove, and posted videos of it online. I think there's a lesson there, that you have to resist, but you also have to publicize your resistance to really influence a change. And that's a thing the women in this play do really well.”

Lovelady continues, “Lately there's so much discussion of white feminism (meaning white women who only care about moving themselves forward and don't recognize or try to address the unique issues that women of color face), which has been an issue with feminism since the get-go. So one way that I'm trying to bring this play out of the "history" department and into the "now" department is by casting a diverse array of women. To be clear, it's still set in the original time period, but we are populating the play with a group of women who don't look like you would expect. Instead they look like the people you'd ride the el with, making it speak more to the present. I hope that including women of color in this production will be a reminder that we are all in this together. And her rights are my rights. And if she's oppressed, we all need to stand up and fight.”

The cast of The Good Fight includes Scottie Caldwell, “Gertrude Harding;” Elisabeth Del Toro, "Mary;" Alison Dornheggen*, "Christabel Pankhurst/Edith Garrud;" Delia Ford*, "Harriet Kerr;" David Kaplinsky, "Mr. Dickinson/Charlie/Inspector McBrien/Constable;" Jean Marie Koon, "Emmeline Pankhurst;" Jillian Leff, "Cicely;" Arielle Leverett, "Grace Roe;" C. Jaye Miller, "Hilda;" Taylor Raye, "Emily Wilding Davison/Wardess;" Joseff Stevenson, "Home Secretary McKenna/Constable/Inspector Gray/Jujutsu Demonstrator" and Richard Traub, "Mr. Hunt/Bill/Constable/Prison Guard" with Tina Arfaee and Catherine Dvorak*, understudies.

The production team for The Good Fight includes Anne Bertram, Playwright and Elizabeth Lovelady, Director with Samantha Barr, Production Manager; Lauren Brady, Assistant Stage Manager; Kenya Hall, Dramaturg; Rose Hamill, Stage Manager; Carrie Hardin, Dialect Coach; Gaby Labotka, Fight Choreography; Kimberly G. Morris*, Costume Design; Patrick O’Brien, Sound Design; Rachel Rauscher, Scenic Design; Julia Skeggs, Assistant Director; Arielle Valene, Properties Design and Becca Venable, Lighting Design, Technical Director.

*denotes BWBTC ensemble member

The Good Fight SPECIAL EVENTS
“No Man Shall Protect Us” filming
Throughout January

“No Man Shall Protect Us” is a documentary on a secret society of women who served as bodyguards for the leaders of the radical suffragette movement in England during 1913/14. The documentary was crowd funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign during October 2017.  The production will make use of rare archival media, including photographs and silent film, as well as the narrative device of interview-style monologues by actors portraying key historical figures, such as suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst.  Re-enactment sequences, including action scenes, will be shot during January and February of 2018 and the completed documentary will then be made freely available online as an educational resource, marking the 100th anniversary of women's voting rights in England.

Writer/producer Tony Wolf is the author of the young-reader biography “Edith Garrud: The Suffragette Who Knew Jujutsu” (2009) and the graphic novel trilogy “Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst's Amazons” (2015).  He also wrote and co-produced the feature documentary Bartitsu: The Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes (2011).  Wolf has served as a historical consultant for several playwrights writing on the suffragette Bodyguard theme, including The Good Fight author Anne Bertram, as well as for BBC television productions including “Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: The Rise of Martial Arts in Britain” (2013) and “The One Show” (2014).

The collaboration with Babes With Blades Theatre Company's production of The Good Fight will take place during January of 2018 and will involve shooting scenes from the play, which will then be edited to feature as re-enactment sequences in the documentary. 

Open Caption Weekend
January 25 – 28

All performances this weekend of The Good Fight feature open captioning by Caption Point, on a screen provided by the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium (CCAC) Accessible Equipment Loan Program. 

“Women’s Suffrage: A Radical Difference in Tactics” – A Post-Show Talkback Sunday, Jan. 28

Emily E. LB. Twarog, PhD (Assistant Professor of History and Labor Studies at the University of Illinois’ School of Labor and Employment Relations - Labor Education Program; Director of the Regina V. Polk Women’s Labor Leadership Conference) and Tony Wolf (author of “Edith Garrud: The Suffragette Who Knew Jujutsu, Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst's Amazons;” co-producer of No Man Shall Protect Us) compare and contrast the largely peaceful and law-abiding women's suffrage movement in the US with the radical militancy that characterized the UK movement between the years 1902-1914.

Pay What You Can Performances
Thursdays, Jan. 18 and 25 and Feb. 1 and 8
To reserve a PWYC seat, call 773-904-0391. 

IMPACT Weekend February 15 – 17
The Babes will be taking a post-show collection in honor of IMPACT Chicago at all performances this weekend. IMPACT is committed to ending violence and building a non-violent world in which all people can live safely and with dignity. By teaching self-defense, IMPACT provides women and girls with the tools they need to prevent, minimize, and stop violence.  IMPACT Chicago is committed to making its programs accessible to people of all economic, racial/ethnic, and social groups. For more information on IMPACT Chicago, please go to www.impactchicago.org.

ABOUT ANNE BERTRAM, PLAYWRIGHT

Anne Bertram is a founding artistic associate of Theatre Unbound, a Minneapolis/St. Paul company devoted to work by and about women. She currently serves as its executive director. Her work as a playwright has been seen in venues from off-Off Broadway to middle-school classrooms in Fargo, as well as successful runs with Theatre Unbound, including Murderess (2011) and The Good Fight (2012). Awards and commissions include Northwestern University’s Agnes Nixon Playwriting Award (lovehateforgive), The Playwrights’ Center’s Jones Commission (The Donner Gold), Studio Z’s Playwright in Electronic Residence Commission (St. Luke’s) and the Tennessee Williams One-Act Prize (Liability).

ABOUT ELIZABETH LOVELADY, DIRECTOR

Elizabeth Lovelady is a director, playwright, arts administrator and sometimes performer. She won the 2016 non-equity Jeff for Best Adaptation for D.O.A. with Strawdog Theatre, which she also directed. She is an artistic associate of Red Theater where she directed Prince Max's Trewly Awful Trip to the Desolat Interior and 20% Theatre where she directed Fanny's First Play and Photograph 51. Other favorite directing credits include Lone Star/Laundry and Bourbon, Crimes of the Heart, The Dining Room (Oil Lamp); The War to End War: Los Alamos (The Island) and Off the Spectrum, a devised piece she created as part of Red Tape Theatre’s Fresh Eyes project. She also created and performed the one-woman show A Simple Lesson in Baking with Marie Antoinette. 

ABOUT GABY LABOTKA, FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHER

Gaby Labotka previously worked with BWBTC as assistant violence designer and Gloucester/Hartleur/John Bates for Henry V. Most recently, Labotka directed Wasteland Hero for the Reutan Collective and was the violence director for Night in Alachua County presented by WildClaw Theatre. She is currently the fight choreographer/assistant director for 'Twas the Night Before Christmas presented by Emerald City Theatre.  She is an advanced actor combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) and is frequently a teaching assistant for stage combat classes at Movement and Combat Education (MACE), The Actors Gymnasium and regional stage combat workshops. She is a proud member of the Alliance of Latinx Theatre Artists (ALTA).



ABOUT BABES WITH BLADES THEATRE COMPANY

Gender parity is a hot topic, with news clip after article after report documenting how women, and women’s stories, are still underrepresented. Babes With Blades Theatre Company’s response – now, for the past 20 years, and moving forward – is to develop and present scripts focused on complex, dynamic (and often combative) female characters.

In each element of their programming, they embrace two key concepts:

1)     Women are central to the story, driving the action rather than responding or submitting to it

2)     Women are capable of a full emotional and physical range, up to and including violence and its consequences.

The company offers participants and patrons alike an unparalleled opportunity to experience women as heroes and villains; rescuers and rescuees; right, wrong, and everywhere in between: exciting, vivid, dynamic PEOPLE. It’s as simple and as subversive as that.

Babes With Blades Theatre Company (BWBTC) continues its 20th Anniversary Season: “Origins” with the Chicago premiere of The Good Fight, playing at City Lit Theater, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., January 6 – February 17, 2018.  Developed in 2011 through BWBTC’s Fighting Words program under the title Deeds Not Words, the play is written by Anne Bertram, executive director of Theatre Unbound, a Minneapolis/St. Paul company devoted to work by and about women. Elizabeth Lovelady, a Jeff Award-winning artist based in Chicago, directs The Good Fight, which features combat by Fight Choreographer Gaby Labotka. Preview performances are Saturday, Jan. 6 at 8 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 7 at 3 p.m., Friday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. Opening Night is Monday, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. Regular performances are Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Preview tickets are $10, student and senior tickets are $15, early bird general admission (available online through January 15, 2018) are $20 and general admission (after January 15, 2018) are $25. To purchase tickets and for more information, please visit BabesWithBlades.org. 

BWBTC’s 2017-18 programming is partially made possible by the kind support of The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council Agency, and a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

OPENING: All-Woman Cast Stage Suffragette Shrew at Chicago Shakespeare 9/16-11/12/17

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

All-woman cast takes on Shakespeare's 
raucous comedy 
The Taming of the Shrew
Staged by Barbara Gaines, 
September 16–November 12, 2017


Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) Artistic Director Barbara Gaines stages Shakespeare’s raucous comedy The Taming of the Shrew with a powerhouse, all-woman cast—setting up a witty and thought-provoking debate on politics, power, and love. Framed as a performance by a band of Suffragettes with additional dialogue by Second City’s Ron West, The Taming of the Shrew launches Chicago Shakespeare’s 2017/18 Season in the Courtyard Theater, September 16–November 12, 2017.

This concept makes my feminist heart proud. I can't wait to check out this version of The Taming of the Shrew in the capable hands of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines! We'll be out for the press opening so check back soon for our full review. 

The year is 1919 and, amidst suffrage marches in Chicago, a women’s theater troupe is convening to rehearse their upcoming comedy: The Taming of the Shrew. In the play, fortune-seeking suitors compete for the hand of the demure Bianca, but her father has decreed that her fiery and tempestuous sister Katherine must first wed. Petruchio takes on the task of wooing and winning her—and so begins the notorious battle of wits. Along the way, the Suffragettes re-examine the characters in Shakespeare’s story, as well as their own status as women in society.

“There is a supreme power in reclaiming this story to be told by women, particularly now,” Director Barbara Gaines notes. “Looking at this play through a woman’s eyes brings the play’s themes into sharp focus with wit, wisdom, and humor, and sheds new light on Shakespeare’s characterizations of both men and women, and their relationships. These women are wickedly smart, and strong—and they will not be tamed.”


Each actress in the ensemble cast performs dual roles: as one of the suffragettes presenting the play, and as a character in their performance of The Taming of the Shrew. Leading the company are Alexandra Henrikson (Mrs. Louise Harrison/Katherine) and Crystal Lucas-Perry (Mrs. Victoria Van Dyne/Petruchio). Henrikson appeared on Broadway in Larry David’s Fish in the Dark and was nominated for a Helen Hayes award for her role in Ironbound at Round House Theatre. Lucas-Perry performed off Broadway in Storm Still: A King Lear Adaptation, and in Lincoln Center’s Bull in a China Shop. Olivia Washington (Mrs. Emily Ingersoll/Bianca) appeared off Broadway as Laura in The Glass Menagerie; and on film in Lee Daniels’ The Butler and Robert De Niro’s The Comedian.

Six-time Jeff Award-winner E. Faye Butler (Dr. Fannie Emmanuel/Baptista) has appeared in multiple national touring productions (Mamma Mia!, Ain’t Misbehavin, Nunsense), and on stages from coast to coast, including The Kennedy Center, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and Signature Theatre. Hollis Resnik (Miss Judith Smith/Gremio) is a twelve-time Jeff Award-winner, including a win for her performance as Carlotta in Chicago Shakespeare’s Follies. She has also appeared in the national touring casts of Les Misérables, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Jeff Award-winner Heidi Kettenring (Mrs. Dorothy Mercer/Tranio) returns to Chicago Shakespeare in her eighth production, after having appeared in the Tug of War saga, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and The School for Lies. Tina Gluschenko (Mrs. Beatrice Ivey Welles/Hortensio) was a member of CST’s collaboration with the Second City: Hamlet the Musical, which later played in New York at Ars Nova. Other Chicago credits include Candide and A Little Night Music at the Goodman Theater. Kate Marie Smith (Mrs. Olivia Twist/Lucentio) appeared in Chicago Shakespeare’s productions of King Charles III and Twelfth Night, and on Chicago Fire.

Rounding out the cast are Lillian Castillo (Mrs. Lucinda James/Biondello), Cindy Gold (Mrs. Sarah Willoughby/Vincentio), Ann E. James (Mrs. Elizabeth Nicewander/Pedant), Rita Rehn (Mrs. Mildred Sherman/Grumio), and Faith Servant (Mrs. Barbara Starkey/Curtis).

Ron West creates additional dialogue for the production, setting the Suffragette’s story alongside Shakespeare’s play. West’s illustrious career spans over two decades, having written for shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway?, as well as serving as a writer and associate artistic director at The Second City. West previously collaborated with Gaines on The Comedy of Errors in 2008, which garnered Jeff Awards for Best Production and Best Adaptation. West also wrote the book, music, and lyrics for The Second City’s Romeo and Juliet Musical: The People vs. Friar Laurence, The Man Who Killed Romeo and Juliet, which had a wildly popular run at Chicago Shakespeare in 2005.

Joining Barbara Gaines on the creative team are Scenic Designer Kevin Depinet and Costume Designer Susan Mickey. Depinet returns to Chicago Shakespeare, where he has designed more than a dozen productions, including most recently Love’s Labor’s Lost, The Heir Apparent, and Sense and Sensibility. Jeff Award-winning designer Mickey is best known for her sumptuous and playful costumes—exemplified in her previous CST designs for Shakespeare in Love, Sense and Sensibility, and The School for Lies. Chicago Shakespeare’s resident Wig and Make-up Designer Richard Jarvie completes the character’s looks with period hairstyles. Lighting Designer Thomas Hase is a veteran designer for international opera and theater stages, including the 2006 Broadway revival of Company. David van Tieghem, who most recently worked on CST’s Measure for Measure, leads the production’s sound design. Completing the creative team are Rinska Carrasco as Assistant Director and Kevin Gudahl as Verse Coach.

For more information, visit www.chicagoshakes.com/shrew.

The Taming of the Shrew will be presented in Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater, September 16–November 12, 2017. Single tickets are on sale now for $48–$88 (subject to change). Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets available for patrons under 35. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Box Office at 312.595.5600 or visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com.

CST strives to make its facility and performances accessible to all patrons through its Access Shakespeare programs. The Taming of the Shrew will have an Audio-described performance on Sunday, October 22 at 2:00 p.m. (with optional touch tour at 12:00 p.m.); Open-captioned performances on Thursday, November 2 at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and an ASL Duo-interpreted performance on Friday, October 27 at 7:30 p.m.

ABOUT CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE THEATER
Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is a leading international theater company and the recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award®. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, CST is dedicated to creating extraordinary production of classics, new works and family programming; to unlocking Shakespeare’s work for educators and students; and to serving as Chicago’s cultural ambassador through its World’s Stage Series. Through a year-round season encompassing more than 650 performances, CST attracts 225,000 audience members annually. One in four of its audience members is under eighteen years old, and today its education programs have impacted the learning of over one million students. CST is proud to take an active role in empowering the next generation of literate, engaged cultural champions and creative minds. During 2016, CST spearheaded the Shakespeare 400 Chicago festival in addition to announcing the creation of an innovative performance venue, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare.



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chi, IL Shows and More On Our Radar Tonight-Timon of Athens Opens at Chicago Shakespeare & Marla Rose at Women & Children First

Tonight



Timon of Athens


by William Shakespeare

directed by Barbara Gaines


April 24 – June 10, 2012

ChiIL Live Shows will be there for opening night of Timon of Athens tonight at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.   We can't wait to see renowned actor, Ian McDiarmid in the lead.   Check back with ChiIL Live Shows like we vote in Chi, IL...early and often.   We'll have a full review up shortly.


In a high-risk world of quick profits and borrowed luxury, Timon is a god among men. But can this titan survive when the tides of fortune turn? From performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company and on Broadway to the Star Wars film series and beyond, internationally celebrated actor Ian McDiarmid is brilliantly matched to the challenging role of Timon. And Artistic Director Barbara Gaines' gripping new production features the kind of inventive staging and electrifying performances that always makes an evening at Chicago Shakespeare one to remember—book your tickets today!


Approximate Running Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes





 

Marla Rose (vegan agitator, author, and local mother to young son, Justice, speaks at Women & Children First in Andersonville at 7:30pm)    Marla's quite a character and a long time friend of ours.   She's recently written a new book, The Adventures of Vivian Sharpe, Vegan Superhero which we'll be reviewing soon at ChiILMama.com.   



Tonight she's on with Geeta Maker-Clark, reading from This I Believe on Motherhood.

This I Believe: On Motherhood
This I Believe, Inc.
An offshoot of the popular public radio series This I Believe, This I Believe: On
Motherhood is an inspirational compilation of original essays, offering the insight and
wisdom of sixty contributors—celebrated and unknown—exploring what is arguably the
most complex of all human relationships: that between a mother and her children. Two
local contributors, Geeta Maker-Clark and Marla Rose, will share their stories from a
collection that would make a wonderful gift for all mothers and mothers-to-be.


$19.95
ISBN-13: 9781118074534
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 4/2012


Check out the event details here.

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