Babes With Blades Theatre Company (BWBTC) proudly announces its 22nd Anniversary Season, “Take Control. Take Action. Make History.,” consisting of two full productions and three developing scripts as part of the Fighting Words Festival 2020, all reflecting how women take ownership of their circumstances and how they manage to prevail. Tickets for the 2019 – 2020 season go on sale soon. For more information go to BabesWithBlades.org.
The BWBTC season kicks off in August at the Factory Theater with the Chicago premiere of Amy Tofte’s Women of 4G, August 1 – September 14 directed by Lauren Katz, with assistant director Stephanie Mattos. In Women of 4G, an all-female crew and their male captain depart on what appears to be a routine mission to Mars until the captain is murdered and the real mission comes to light. In spring 2020, BWBTC presents a new adaptation of John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi, April 16 - May 30, 2020, adapted and directed by Artistic Director Hayley Rice. Regarding the play’s relevance to modern times, Rice says: “When the duchess dares to love honestly, openly, and defiantly, the males in her family do everything in their power to break those that would dare flout the rules of a heteronormative, patriarchal society. T.S. Elliot once said that Webster “saw the skull beneath the skin.” While he could be melodramatic, bloody and cynical, there is a terrible truth in his stories. As much as it is easy to pretend that one lives in a more welcoming, educated society, one only needs to read certain news sites to find that the world might not be as kind as we would like to pretend.”
“Both plays explore stories of women who dare to decide what their future holds for them, whether in renaissance Europe or the far-flung-future, and how they grapple with a society that tries to prevent them from taking charge of their destiny,” continued Artistic Director Rice. “I’m very excited to present Babes With Blades Theatre Company's first foray into full-length science fiction (a genre much-requested by our long-time patrons). Despite the futuristic setting, the crew of seven aboard the government vessel '4G' still face the frustrations and discrimination that women in leadership experience today, whether in a managerial position in small business, or running for the highest office.”
Babes With Blades Theatre Company’s 22nd Season features:
Women of 4G
August 1 - September 14
Written by Amy Tofte
Director Lauren Katz
Assistant Director Stephanie Mattos
Fight Director BWBTC Ensemble Member Maureen Yasko
The Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St., Chicago
Previews: Thursday, Aug. 1 and 8, Friday, Aug. 2 and Saturday, Aug. 3 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 4 at 3 p.m.
Press Opening: Friday, Aug. 9 at 8 p.m.
Regular run: Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.
Tickets: Previews $10; student and senior tickets are $15 and general admission are $28. Every show has limited tickets for Industry for $10, must present proof of theatre industry affiliation.
Seventy-five years in the future, an all-female crew and their male captain depart on what appears to be a routine mission to Mars until the captain is murdered and the real mission comes to light. Part murder mystery, part space thriller, Women of 4G uses a science fiction world to ask questions about women in power as well as their leadership, responsibility and, ultimately, sacrifice.
Tickets are now on sale for Women of 4G at BabesWithBlades.org.
The Duchess of Malfi
April 16 - May 30, 2020
Written by John Webster
Adaptor and Director BWBTC Artistic Director Hayley Rice
The Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St., Chicago
Previews: Thursday, April 16 and 23, Friday, April 17 and 24 and Saturday, April 18 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 19 at 3 p.m.
Press Opening: Saturday, April 25 at 8 p.m.
Regular run: Thursdays - Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets: Previews $10.00; student and senior tickets are $15 and general admission are $28. Every show has limited tickets for Industry for $10, must present proof of theatre industry affiliation.
ABOUT AMY TOFTE, PLAYWRIGHT, Women of 4G
Amy Tofte was awarded a 2015 Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her plays have been semi-finalists for the nuVoices Festival (Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte), Kitchen Dog Theatre’s New Works Festival, Source Festival, The Bridge Initiative, Headwaters New Play Festival, PlayPenn and The Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship. She has developed plays at both the Kennedy Center and on a Visiting Scholar Fellowship at the Autry National Center of the American West and has twice been invited to develop work for Seattle Repertory’s reading series hosted by the Northwest Playwrights Alliance. She’s been in residence at Yaddo and the National Winter Playwrights Retreat in Pagosa Springs, CO. Her plays FLOOZY and FleshEatingTiger premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Tiger was remounted at the Hollywood Fringe where it was named "Best of Fringe" and nominated for Best Play. She is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild. MFA, California Institute of the Arts.
ABOUT LAUREN KATZ, DIRECTOR, Women of 4G
Lauren Katz is a freelance director, dramaturg, and teaching artist. Katz served as the 2016/2017 artistic apprentice at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and as a fellow in the 2018/2019 Directors Inclusion Initiative at Victory Gardens Theatre. Favorite directing credits include: Subjective is Beauty (Prop Thtr), Toni and Marcus: From Village Life to Urban Stress (Illinois Holocaust Museum), Salena’s Story (iO Theater) and La Maestra (Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble). Recent assistant directing and dramaturgy credits in Chicago include: The Last Match (Writers Theatre), Indecent (Victory Gardens Theatre), Caroline, or Change (Firebrand Theatre/Timeline Theatre), Women Laughing Alone with Salad (Theater Wit), The Crucible and Hir (Steppenwolf Theatre), Dada Woof Papa Hot, Bull in a China Shop, Significant Other and Bright Half Life (About Face Theatre), and Apartment 3a (Windy City Playhouse). As a teaching artist, Katz works with Lookingglass Theatre and Mudlark Theatre.
ABOUT STEPHANIE MATTOS, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, Women of 4G
This is Stephanie's first production with Babes With Blades. She received her start in directing as a theatre education coordinator in Midland, MI and Bowling Green, KY. Previous directing credits include The Lattice Crashes by Derek Lee McPhatter and A Billion Tuesday Mornings by Nathan Wellman.
ABOUT JOHN WEBSTER, PLAYWRIGHT, The Duchess of Malfi
Of John Webster's life almost nothing is known. The first notice of Webster so far discovered shows that he was collaborating in the production of plays for the theatrical manager, Henslowe, in 1602, and of such collaboration he seems to have done a considerable amount. Four plays exist which he wrote alone, The White Devil, The Duchess of Malfi, The Devil's Law-Case and Appius and Virginia.
The Duchess of Malfi was published in 1623, but the date of writing may have been as early as 1611. It is based on a story in Painter's "Palace of Pleasure," translated from the Italian novelist, Bandello; and it is entirely possible that it has a foundation in fact. In any case, it portrays with a terrible vividness one side of the court life of the Italian Renaissance; and its picture of the fierce quest of pleasure, the recklessness of crime, and the worldliness of the great princes of the Church finds only too ready corroboration in the annals of the time.
Webster's tragedies come toward the close of the great series of tragedies of blood and revenge, in which The Spanish Tragedy and Hamlet are landmarks, but before decadence can fairly be said to have set in. He, indeed, loads his scene with horrors almost past the point which modern taste can bear; but the intensity of his dramatic situations, and his superb power of flashing in a single line a light into the recesses of the human heart at the crises of supreme emotion, redeems him from mere sensationalism and places his best things in the first rank of dramatic writing. (Project Guttenburg, The Duchess of Malfi)
ABOUT HAYLEY RICE, DIRECTOR, The Duchess of Malfi
Hayley Rice is a Chicago-area director whose work has been seen at such theaters as First Folio Theatre (where she will next direct Henry V, summer, 2019), Babes With Blades Theatre Company, Focal Point Theatre Company, and Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre in Minnesota. As an actor, she’s worked with The Factory Theater, Prologue Theatre, AstonRep Theatre, The Chicago Mammals, Circle Theatre, LiveWire Theatre, and Illinois Theatre Center, among others. She is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University’s School of Theatre Arts. Hayley is an advising artistic consultant at First Folio Theatre and the artistic director of Babes With Blades Theatre Company.
FIGHTING WORDS FESTIVAL 2020
Performance dates TBD
Tickets: Free Admission
Each year BWBTC selects three scripts for development that have the potential to grow into the kinds of plays that fit its mission. Several of the Fighting Words selections have been seen as full productions with BWBTC, as well as other theatre companies: most recently The Lady Demands Satisfaction, 180 Degree Rule, Patchwork Drifter, L’Imbecile, Bo Thomas and the Case of the Sky Pirates and this season’s production of Women of 4G. Each script will undergo two reading-and-feedback sessions with the ensemble and invited guests, before being introduced to the public (and given the BWBTC treatment of including one staged fight).
The 2020 Festival will include the winner of BWBTC’s 2019 Joining Sword & Pen Playwriting Competition (the Margaret Martin Award): Plaid As Hell by Cat McKay, as well as Nina The Hellhound by Sander Gusinow and Scum by Mia Vera.
Refreshments and a talkback follow each reading.
ABOUT 2019 YEAR OF CHICAGO THEATRE
Babes With Blades Theatre Company is proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres.
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 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.
For more information about BWBTC or for tickets, please visit http://babeswithblades.org.
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