Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) is proud to announce its 2016/17 season: The Burials, a new play by Caitlin Parrish and directed by Erica Weiss; and a world premiere adaptation of Walter Dean Myers’s critically acclaimed novel, Monster, adapted by Steppenwolf Artistic Producer Aaron Carter and directed by SYA Artistic Director Hallie Gordon. SYA’s 2016/17 season explores the question, When we stick to our guns, who pays the price?
“Recognizing the culture of violence we live in, how do we participate through our beliefs and convictions? Through these two stories we will investigate the aftermath of tragedy through a community’s response to a mass shooting and one teen’s journey to understand himself in the face of that culture,” shares SYA Artistic Director Hallie Gordon.
Monster, which tells the story of a 16-year-old aspiring filmmaker in juvenile detention, will tour to three juvenile detention centers throughout Cook County following its run at Steppenwolf. The tour is made possible through a collaboration with Storycatchers Theatre, a youth development arts organization that prepares court-involved and otherwise marginalized young people to make thoughtful life choices through the process of writing, producing and performing original theatre inspired by personal stories.
A new play by Caitlin Parrish
Directed by Erica Weiss
October 5 - October 22, 2016 in the Upstairs Theatre
Sophie is everything an upstanding young millennial should be: engaged, devoted to her family and a likely valedictorian. But her life is shattered when her brother goes on a high school shooting rampage. Thrust into the national spotlight, Sophie finds herself torn between defying the narrative being woven about her brother in the media, and stopping the father she loves from using the rampage for his own political ends. Inspired by Antigone, The Burials is a modern tale of civic responsibility and the gun epidemic in America.
Caitlin Parrish's career began at age 18 when she won the 2003 National Young Playwrights Competition with her first playThe View from Tall, which subsequently ran Off-Broadway. A forthcoming adaptation of The View from Tall marks the beginning of her film career, as both screenwriter and co-director. Her collaborator and co-director Erica Weiss directed her sold-out hit A Twist of Water for Route 66 Theatre Company, which also enjoyed an Off-Broadway run at 59E59. Route 66 also recently produced the world premiere of her play The Downpour, which was named a finalist by the American Theatre Critics Association for the Steinberg Award for Best New American Play, an honor that A Twist of Water received in 2011 as well. Her work in television includes stints as a writer for Emily Owens, M.D., Under the Dome and Supergirl. She is a recipient of the prestigious Humanitas Award for her original television pilot Painkiller. Her pilot Red Line has been optioned by Warner Bros. television.
Erica Weiss is a Jeff-nominated theatre director and filmmaker based in Chicago. She was the recipient of The Goodman Theatre’s Michael Maggio Directing Fellowship, is a proud ensemble member of The Gift Theatre Company and was the Associate Artistic Director of Route 66 Theatre Company for four years. Her primary passions lie in the development of new work and bringing female voices to the stage and screen. Her directing work includes the world premieres of Jerre Dye'sCicada (Route 66 Theatre), Danny Bernardo's Mahal (Bailiwick Chicago) and the currently running Chicago premiere of Caroline V McGraw's The Bachelors (Cole Theatre). Weiss is a longtime and frequent collaborator with writer Caitlin Parrish, directing their world premiere productions of The Downpour (Joseph Jefferson Nominee for Best Production, Best Director, Best New Work and Best Lead Actress) and A Twist of Water with Route 66 Theatre Company and Off-Broadway at 59E59. She and Parrish co-directed their first feature film The View From Tall with their company Teleporter Productions. Upcoming projects include The Grapes of Wrath with The Gift Theatre and the world premiere of Distance by Jerre Dye with Strawdog Theatre.
By Walter Dean Myers
Adapted by Aaron Carter
Directed by Hallie Gordon
February 15 - March 9, 2017 in the Downstairs Theatre
This New York Times bestselling novel and National Book Award nominee tells the story of Steve Harmon, a 16-year-old aspiring filmmaker in juvenile detention. His life has been turned upside down by his alleged participation in a robbery gone awry and now he might spend the rest of his life behind bars. As the prosecution makes its case, Steve writes his story as a screenplay, trying to understand if he’s really the monster they say he is.
Following its four-week run at Steppenwolf and working in collaboration with Storycatchers Theatre, Steppenwolf for Young Adults will tour its production of Monster for a week to three juvenile detention centers throughout Cook County. Storycatchers Theatre, winner of the 2013 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, is a youth development arts organization that prepares court-involved and otherwise marginalized young people to make thoughtful life choices through the process of writing, producing, and performing original theatre inspired by personal stories.
Building on the success of the 2013 tour of How Long Will I Cry: voices of youth violence, during which Steppenwolf for Young Adults brought its sold-out production to eight Chicago Public Library sites, this tour will provide detained and incarcerated youth a chance to see the production and share their stories with professional artists involved with the play.
In addition to the tour, Steppenwolf will host Storycatchers alumni, who participated in Storycatchers programs while incarcerated or detained, on the Steppenwolf stage for a series of special events featuring these incredible young people and their stories.
Aaron Carter is currently an artistic producer at Steppenwolf where he has served as dramaturg on such projects as The Way West by Mona Mansour and Airline Highway by Lisa D’Amour. Previously, he served as the Literary Manager at Victory Gardens Theater where he played a key role in the IGNITION Festival, and was involved in the production of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Year Zero, Love Person and Living Green, among others. As a new play developer and dramaturg, Aaron has worked with many theaters and labs including WordBRIDGE, the Kennedy Center, Timeline Theater, Route 66 and Chicago Dramatists. Carter also was taught courses in playwriting, dramaturgy and dramatic literature at Northwestern University, DePaul University, Roosevelt University and Grinnell College. As a playwright, Aaron’s work focuses on race, faith and obscure performance skills. Carter’s play Gospel of Franklin was part of First Look 2013 at Steppenwolf. His latest play isStart Fair.
Hallie Gordon serves as Artistic Director of Steppenwolf for Young Adults and an artistic producer at Steppenwolf. Along with selecting the young adult productions each season, she has created the Young Adult Council, a group of high school students who collectively help to create innovative programming for their peers. Previously as SYA’s Educational Director, Gordon worked closely with the Chicago Public Schools to create an environment in which all students and teachers have access to the theater. For Steppenwolf, Hallie has directed George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm, as well as Leveling Up, The Book Thief, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, To Kill a Mockingbird, the world premiere of a new adaptation by Tanya Saracho of The House on Mango Street and Harriet Jacobs, adapted for the stage by Lydia R. Diamond. A world premiere of Toni Morrison’sThe Bluest Eye, also adapted by Lydia R. Diamond, won a Black Excellence Award from the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago and also transferred Off-Broadway to The New Victory Theatre. She is the recipient of The Helen Coburn Meier & Time Meier Achievement Award.