Akvavit Theatre is pleased to launch its 2019 season with FAMILY DRAMA: 2 Norwegian Plays appearing in a double bill September 24 – October 13, 2019 at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave. in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. The two one-acts presented in partnership with the International Voices Project, include the U.S. premiere of GOLIATH by Maria Tryti Vennerød, translated by May-Brit Akerholt and directed by Co-Artistic Director Kirstin Franklin* and THE RETURNING by Fredrik Brattberg, translated by Henning Hegland and directed by Lee Peters. Tickets are currently available at www.chicagonordic.org.
The cast of GOLIATH includes Kelly Levander, Madelyn Loehr*, Jordan McGinnis and Samuel Pate. The cast of THE RETURNING includes Charles Glenn, Karla Rennhofer and Daniel Stewart.
GOLIATH retells the classic biblical story as an epic family drama: Goliath, the dominant older brother who, once in his childhood, was outshone by his clever, heroic little brother David. Ever since, Goliath has had to live with the myth of the events, the legend of his brother, the shame of his loss and their mother's favoring of David. Time has come for revenge.
In THE RETURNING, we meet a mother and a father grieving the loss of their son, Gustav, whom they assume to be dead. The funeral is breathtaking, where they have filled the coffin with things reminding them of Gustav. After some time goes by, they return to their daily lives. The parents manage to go on with their life. But then one day there is a knock on the door, upsetting all of their newfound peace...
Both plays examine tragedy and history through the lens of family dynamics, exploring the importance of understanding the narrative of our times as both epic and personal.
The production team includes Milo Bue (scenic design), Lily Walls (costume design), Tony Adams (lighting design), Timothy McNulty (sound design), Letitia Guillaud (props design), R&D Choreography (violence design), Tyler Skafgaard (assistant director, Goliath), Izzy Tortuga (assistant director, The Returning), Harrison Ornelas (technical director), Hannah Harper-Smith (stage manager) and Nicholas Hittner-Cunningham (assistant stage manager).
FAMILY DRAMA: 2 NORWEGIAN PLAYS – PRODUCTION DETAILS:
Title: GOLIATH – U.S. Premiere!
Written by Maria Tryti Vennerød
Translated by May-Brit Akerholt
Directed by Co-Artistic Director Kirstin Franklin*
Cast (in alphabetical order): Kelly Levander (Borgny), Madelyn Loehr* (Anette), Jordan McGinnis (Goliath) and Samuel Pate (David).
Title: THE RETURNING
Written by Fredrik Brattberg
Translated by Henning Hegland
Directed by Lee Peters
Cast (in alphabetical order): Charles Glenn (Father), Karla Rennhofer (Mother) and Daniel Stewart (Gustav).
Understudies: Audrey Gladson, Christopher Donaldson, Denise Smolarek and Daniel Westheimer.
Location: Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave, Chicago
Dates: Preview: Tuesday, September 24 at 8 pm
Press performance: Wednesday, September 25 at 8 pm
Regular run: Thursday, September 26 – Sunday, October 13, 2019
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm.
Tickets: Previews: $10. Regular Run: $25. Students/seniors/industry $15. Tickets are currently available at chicagonordic.org.
*Denotes Akvavit Theatre company members.
About the Artists
Maria Tryti Vennerød (Playwright, Goliath) is one of the most acknowledged playwrights in Norway today. Her plays have been translated into ten languages and have been presented at theatres like Théâtre de la Colline in Paris, The National Theatre in Budapest and at Theatre for the New City in New York. She has received several of awards, including the Ibsen Award and the first prize in the Swedish / Norwegian drama competition on the centennial for the end of the Swedish Norwegian Union in 2005. In 2012, she was nominated for the Hedda Award. Vennerød writes with linguistic musicality and energy, and with a desire to raise ethical questions through humor, poetry and politics.
Kirstin Franklin (Director, Goliath) Originally from Colorado, Co-Artistic Director Kirstin Franklin holds a BA from St. Olaf College and an MFA in acting from the FSU Asolo/Conservatory. She has collaborated with many theaters across the country including The Guthrie, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Asolo Rep, Pangea World Theatre, NY Fringe, Northlight, Urbanite and Raven Theatre among others. Joining Akvavit in 2011, Kirstin's credits with the company include: Red and Green, Kokkola, Autumn Dream, Mishap!, Blue Planet, Nothing of Me, Bad Girls and Rising Temperatures, along with many staged readings. Kirstin was a cast member in Season 9 of the award-winning Norwegian television program Alt for Norge, where she had the opportunity to learn more about her Norwegian heritage and compete for a chance to meet her relatives. In her spare time, Kirstin teaches theatre and acting at various colleges across Chicago.
Fredrik Brattberg (Playwright, The Returning) is one of Norway's most performed playwrights. His plays have been translated into nearly twenty languages and staged all over the world. You can see his plays at some of the biggest theatres in France and Germany, such as Theatre du Rond-Point, Comédie-Francaise and Schauspiel Frankfurt. Brattberg has been shortlisted by Berliner festspiele three times and nominated for Le Prix Godot. He has received the Ibsen Award and The Ferdinand Vanek Award. The Returning won Fredrik Brattberg The Ibsen Award in 2012.
Lee Peters (Director, The Returning) With over 20 years of theatre experience, Lee has worn many hats including director, performer, teacher and administrator. Lee’s directing work has been seen at Theatre for the New City in New York and here in Chicago at Bailiwick Theatre, Prop Thtr and Village Players theatre in Oak Park. Favorite projects include the Jeff Recommended Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story and a new musical he helped to bring to life, Oracle of the Gutterpunks. Lee is also proud to have written and directed The Crown: A Hip-Hop Retelling of Hamlet and The Institution, a modern take on Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with a gay twist. During the day Lee is the assistant director of Live Programs at Shedd Aquarium where he helps create experiences that spark compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world.
About Akvavit Theatre
Since its beginning, Akvavit has been busy commissioning translations of contemporary Nordic works, staging readings of Nordic plays, and launching fully-staged productions. Akvavit is the only company in the U.S. devoted to annually producing US premiers of contemporary Nordic work. Akvavit Theatre is haunted by Nordic visions: deep forests and ice-blue seas, the patience of the glacier, the sudden fury of the volcano, the arctic light and silence. Seeking the universal through the voices of contemporary Nordic playwrights, Akvavit Theatre is a kind of homecoming, a connecting back to the lands whose people and cultures have for generations been a part of the great prairies of North America that we call home. And like our namesake beverage, Akvavit brings a “strong spirit” to the work that we produce. Skål, Skál, Kippis! For additional information, visit www.chicagonordic.org.
About International Voices Project
The International Voices Project champions the work of global playwrights by creating opportunities to experience new and contemporary international plays in urban settings and on stages throughout Chicago. We celebrate the mother tongue, and foster work that brings native languages to the forefront. From its inception, Chicago was conceived as the crossroads of the country. The rail lines that crossed the city now symbolize the role that Chicago will play in the future: as the center of international dialogue and design, creating opportunities for artists and audiences alike to experience the most engaging and provocative new plays from around the world. We foster new translations, support the work of translators, and create ongoing relationships with playwrights from the five continents. For additional information, visit www.ivpchicago.org.
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