Lookingglass Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Act(s) of God, by Ensemble Member Kareem Bandealy, directed by Ensemble Member Heidi Stillman. Act(s) of God runs February 13–April 7, 2019 at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.
Three siblings, two parents, and one very unexpected dinner guest. As a family gathers for an overdue dinner, a mysterious envelope arrives with astonishing news. They soon find themselves scrambling to welcome a visitor of cosmic proportion. Absurdity reigns as ancient fissures open wide, long-held certainties crumble, and sh*t gets real. Will this nuclear family explode? Lookingglass Ensemble Member Kareem Bandealy unleashes this existential dark comedy, directed by Artistic Director Heidi Stillman (Cascabel, Hard Times).
“The force, “God,” acts in the play much as in life: invisibly, mysteriously. And so the fun of it all has to do with how God (whether externalized, internalized, or altogether put aside) works on the family—how it brings them together or pulls them apart…much as in life,” notes playwright Kareem Bandealy.
“At its core, this is a dark comedy about family and how we navigate these deep and at times tricky relationships when our views don’t align. This show is about so much more than whether or not you believe; it’s about our most basic connections to one another, and Kareem’s sharp writing and wit gives us the perfect access point to a subject that has made more than one family dinner take a turn toward awkward,” comments director Heidi Stillman.
Act(s) of God is recommended for ages 13+
The cast of Act(s) of God features Lookingglass Artistic Associates Walter Briggs (Youngest) and Anthony Irons (Middle), with Shannon Cochran (Mother), Emjoy Gavino (Fiancée), Mike Saad (Father) and Kristina Valada-Viars (Eldest). Emjoy Gavino replaces the previously announced Atra Asdou.
The creative team includes Artistic Associate Brian Sidney Bembridge (scenic and lighting designer), Ensemble Member Mara Blumenfeld (costume designer), Artistic Associate Rick Sims (sound designer and co-composer), Amanda Dehnert (co-composer and arranger), Konstantin Jace (co-composer), Ensemble Member Tracy Walsh (choreographer), Amanda Herrmann (properties designer), Matt Hawkins (fight choreographer), and Tess Golden (stage manager).
About the Artists
KAREEM BANDEALY (Playwright/Lookingglass Ensemble Member) has previously appeared at Lookingglass as Captain Nemo in 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas, Blood Wedding, Moby Dick (2015 & 2017), The Little Prince, Big Lake Big City, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, The Last Act of Lilka Kadison, and Peter Pan (A Play). Chicago credits: A Christmas Carol (2014–18), Rock ‘N’ Roll, Gas For Less and King Lear at Goodman Theatre; The Wheel at Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Oklahoma! at Paramount Theatre; The Good Book and The Illusion at Court Theatre; Julius Caesar, Hamlet, The Caretaker, and Heartbreak House at Writers Theatre; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Edward II, and Romeo and Juliet at Chicago Shakespeare Theater; A Disappearing Number, Blood, and Gifts at TimeLine Theatre; The Skin of Our Teeth and The Real Thing at Remy Bumppo Theatre Company; Othello (as Othello) at The Gift Theatre, and many others. Regional credits include: The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Three Musketeers and The Tempest at Illinois Shakespeare Festival; Love’s Labour’s Lost at Notre Dame Summer Shakespeare; Julius Caesar and Stuff Happens at Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, and four seasons with Orlando Shakespeare Theater. He has appeared in several films including The Merry Gentleman directed by Michael Keaton, in the new web series Code-Switched, and on TV in Chicago Fire. Kareem is a recipient of the 2011 3Arts Artist Award.
HEIDI STILLMAN (Director/Lookingglass Ensemble Member/Artistic Director) recently directed the return of her adaptation of Hard Times. She has both written and directed for Lookingglass: Cascabel, The North China Lover, Hephaestus, The Brothers Karamazov (2009 Raven Award), and The Master and Margarita. Additional writing credits with Lookingglass include: The Last Act of Lilka Kadison, The Old Curiosity Shop (Jeff Award for Adaptation), and The Baron in the Trees. Directing work with Lookingglass includes: Death Tax, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Trust, The Wooden Breeks, and Hillbilly Antigone. Heidi’s adaptation of The Book Thief premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. She directed Minita Gandhi’s Muthaland for Silk Road Rising Solos and Victory Gardens Theater’s Ignition Festival, CAATA/ConFEST, and at 16th Street Theatre. She co-wrote and directed The Year I Didn’t Go to School at the Chicago Children’s Theatre. Heidi lives in Evanston with her husband and her 15 year olds, Sadie and Jude.
WALTER BRIGGS (Youngest/Lookingglass Artistic Associate) has previously appeared with the company in 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas, Moby Dick, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo and The North China Lover. Chicago credits include: Sucker Punch (Victory Gardens Theater), Hit The Wall (The Inconvenience/Steppenwolf Theatre Company), All Our Tragic (The Hypocrites), The Glass Menagerie (Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.), A Red Orchid Theater, and many more. Regionally, Walter has performed at A.R.T, Arena Stage, South Coast Repertory, Alliance Theatre, and The Getty Villa. TV/Film credits include: Chicago Med, Kappa Force, Jessica, I Don’t Care, A Good Person, Ballad, and Older Children. Walter is a graduate of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
SHANNON COCHRAN (Mother) makes her Lookingglass Theatre debut. Last season, she appeared in Buried Child and The Importance of Being Earnest at Writers Theatre. Other recent Chicago credits include The Christians (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), The Little Foxes (Goodman Theatre), and Goldfish (Route 66 Theatre). Recent credits include: Nora in the world premiere of A Doll's House, Part 2 (South Coast Repertory), the Roundabout National Tour of Cabaret, and the First National Tour of August: Osage County. She is an Obie and Theatreworld Award-winner for the role she created in Bug (Gate Theatre, London and Barrow Street Theatre). Shannon has also performed at The Old Globe, Long Wharf Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, Barbican Centre (London), Geffen Playhouse, Court Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Film: Captive State, The Ring, Star Trek: Nemesis, The Perfect Family. Television: Modern Family, Scandal, NCIS: LA, Grey's Anatomy, Law and Order: SVU, The Office.
EMJOY GAVINO (Fiancée) made her Lookingglass debut in Arabian Nights. Recent credits include: You Got Older (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Cry it Out (Studio Theatre), Bull in a China Shop (About Face Theatre), Death and Harry Houdini (The House Theatre of Chicago), Vietgone (Writers Theatre), You on the Moors Now (The Hypocrites), Iphigenia in Aulis (Court Theatre/The Getty Villa), and the national tour of The Realish Housewives (The Second City). Emjoy has also worked with Victory Gardens Theater, Northlight Theatre, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, Paramount Theatre, Broadway Playhouse, The Neo-Futurists, Goodman Theatre, Repertory Actors Theatre, Book-It Repertory Theatre, American Theater Company, The 5th Avenue Theatre, and Village Theatre. Film/TV: The Exorcist, Mob Doctor, Empire, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, and The Force. Emjoy is an associate artistic director and casting director of The Gift Theatre, a 3Arts Make a Wave grantee, and is the founder and producer of The Chicago Inclusion Project. She is represented by Stewart Talent.
ANTHONY IRONS (Middle/Lookingglass Artistic Associate) is thrilled to return to Lookingglass in this exciting new work. He appeared in Treasure Island and, most recently, The Steadfast Tin Soldier. Anthony is also a Congo Square Theatre Ensemble Member, where he has performed in over a dozen productions. Chicago credits include: Support Group for Men (Goodman Theatre), How to Use a Knife (Shattered Globe Theatre, Jeff Nomination), Jitney (Congo Square Theatre, Jeff Nomination), and Waiting for Godot (Court Theatre). Regional credits include: Black Eagles (Penumbra Theatre), Hamlet (Illinois Shakespeare Festival), and As You Like It (Georgia Shakespeare Festival). TV/Film credits include: Empire, The Chi, Sirens, Chicago Fire, Boss, Let’s Go To Prison, and The Lucky Ones.
MIKE SAAD (Father) makes his debut at Lookingglass. Last seen in Chicago as a member of the Organic Theatre where he was part of the ensemble that produced The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, Bloody Bess, Volpone, The Sirens of Titan, Cops, Bleacher Bums, Campaign, and A Decent Life. Other Chicago credits include: Bal and Chemin de Fer (Goodman Theatre), The Caretaker (Victory Gardens Theater), and Gemini (Apollo Theater). In Los Angeles he played Aldo Finzi in Tamara as well as guest starring on JAG, 24, Las Vegas, Seinfeld, and many other TV and film productions. He played Joel Cairo in the Grammy-nominated production of The Maltese Falcon and has a Chicago Emmy for his work on Bleacher Bums. He has four nominations and is a two time Jeff Award Winner for Best Ensemble, Organic Theater Company.
KRISTINA VALADA-VIARS (Eldest) is making her Lookingglass debut in Mr. Bandealy's beautiful play. Most recently, she appeared in Make Believe Association’s The Lost Books, directed Small Jokes About Monsters at 16th Street Theatre, and appears in The Red Line on CBS. Theatre credits include: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Writers Theatre, Theater Wit, Route 66 Theatre, Northlight Theatre, About Face Theatre, New Dramatists, The New Group, and 13P. TV/Film: Easy, Empire, Shameless, The Force, and Stephen Cone’s Black Box. She received a Jeff Nomination for Supporting Actress for her work in the Chicago premiere of Time Stands Still (Steppenwolf Theatre Company) and the Best Actress in a Feature Award at the Iris International Film Festival for the independent feature Molly's Girl. She received a 2017 Princess Grace Award and Fellowship for acting and directing in residence with Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Kristina is an activist, freelance writer, teacher, and a member of the Chicago Green Theatre Alliance.
Flex pass subscriptions are still on sale for the 2018–2019 Season. Performances will be held at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.
The Gglasspass is a flex pass available to all ages. For $200, Gglasspass holders receive 4 tickets that can be used in any combination and denomination for any Lookingglass production in the 2018–2019 season. The Madhatter’s Club flex pass is available to those 35 or younger. The Madhatter’s Club flex pass is $100 and includes 4 tickets that members can use in any combination and denomination for any Lookingglass production in the 2018-2019 season. For season subscription and ticket information, call the Lookingglass Theatre box office at (312) 337-0665 or visit lookingglasstheatre.org.
Dive even deeper into the world of the play with the Lookingglass REFLECT Series! This specially-curated series of post-show conversations and panels offers audiences an opportunity to think, hear, and talk about the performance they just experienced. Hear in-the-field experts offer their insights and leading artists give a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Lookingglass creative process. REFLECT post-show discussions are free and open to the public, and take place directly following the 2:00 p.m. matinee on select Sundays at Lookingglass Theatre.
For the most up-to-date schedule information, visit https://lookingglasstheatre.org/reflect/.
Act(s) of God REFLECT Panel Series Schedule
March 3, 2019
Faith and (Dis)Belief
The characters in Act(s) of God express a range of opinions on the spectrum of religious belief. Where do you sit on the metaphysical panorama? What is the difference between religion and spirituality? And how do we navigate these sometimes-tricky conversations with others?
March 10, 2019
It’s The End of the World (As We Know It)
Whether it’s a catastrophic flood, a glorious rapture, or a meteor scheduled to crash into Earth, humans have forecast the End of Days almost since the beginning of days. What is behind the human instinct to anticipate the end? Does it help or hinder our ability to plan for the future? What are some current theories about the fate of the earth?
March 17, 2019
Of God(s) and Gender(s)
The divine spirit takes many forms in various cultures around the world. Is there one god or many? Is the divine a he, she, or they? And what does that suggest about us mere mortals?
March 24, 2019
How (Not) To Have A Family Reunion
When adult children return home, fraught family history and emotional trip wires can litter the domestic landscape. Why does this happen, and how do we gracefully navigate those sharp glances, dodge those snarky comments, and fill those awkward silences?
March 31, 2019
Behind the Scene(s)
Join us for a conversation with the artists behind this world-premiere, as the writer, director, and cast members talk about the journey from the kernel of an idea to its ultimate dazzling fruition onstage.
FACT SHEET / Act(s) of God
Title: Act(s) of God
Written by: Ensemble Member Kareem Bandealy
Directed by: Ensemble Member Heidi Stillmam
Featuring: Lookingglass Artistic Associates Walter Briggs (Youngest) and Anthony Irons (Middle), with Shannon Cochran (Mother), Emjoy Gavino (Fiancée), Mike Saad (Father) and Kristina Valada-Viars (Eldest).
Creative Team: Artistic Associate Brian Sidney Bembridge (scenic and lighting designer), Ensemble Member Mara Blumenfeld (costume designer), Artistic Associate Rick Sims (sound designer and co-composer), Amanda Dehnert (co-composer and arranger), Konstantin Jace (co-composer), Ensemble Member Tracy Walsh (choreographer), Amanda Herrmann (properties designer), Matt Hawkins (fight choreographer), and Tess Golden (stage manager).
Previews: February 13 – 21, 2019
Press performances: Friday, February 22, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 23, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.
Gala opening: Sunday, February 24, 2019
Regular run: February 27 – April 7, 2019
Tuesdays: 7:30 p.m. (March 12 only)
Wednesdays: 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays: 2:00 p.m. (March 7, 21 and April 4 only)
Fridays: 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays: 2:00 p.m. (Except Feb. 16 and 23)
Sundays: 2:00 p.m. (Except Feb. 24)
7:30 p.m. (March 3, 10, 31 only)
Audio Described/Touch Tour performance, Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. Touch tour begins at 6 p.m.
Open Captioned performance, Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.lookingglasstheatre.org/access
Theatre Night Out for Young Professionals
Thursday, March 21 at 5:30 p.m.
Under 35? Join members of the Lookingglass Associates Board and other young professionals for a pre-show reception at Mity Nice Bar & Grill and a performance of Act(s) of God. Tickets are $40 for Young Professionals 35 and under. lookingglasstheatre.org/under35
Theatre Thursday with the League of Chicago Theatres,
Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 6 p.m.
Join Lookingglass for Theatre Thursday, in partnership with the League of Chicago Theatres. Theatre Thursday attendees are invited to a pre-show reception in the Lookingglass lobby at 6:00 p.m. Join for appetizers, drinks, and artistic programming about bringing Act(s) of God to life on stage.
Tickets are just $30 with promo code THTH. Ticket includes pre-show reception and 7:30 p.m. performance of Act(s) of God.
Location: Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.
Prices: Previews are $35 - $55
Regular Run is $40 - $75
Student tickets are available the day of the show for $20 with a valid student ID. Based on availability.
Groups of 8 or more patrons save up to 20%. Call 773-477-9257 X 125 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Box Office: Buy online at lookingglasstheatre.org or by phone at (312) 337-0665
The Lookingglass box office is located at Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave.
About Lookingglass Theatre Company
Inventive. Collaborative. Transformative. Lookingglass Theatre Company, recipient of the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award, was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students. Now in its 31st Season, Lookingglass is home to a multi-disciplined ensemble of artists who create story-centered theatrical work that is physical, aurally rich and visually metaphoric. The Company, located in Chicago’s landmark Water Tower Water Works, has staged 67 world premieres, received 151 Joseph Jefferson Award Nominations, and produced work all across the United States. In 2016, Lookingglass received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions and in 2017, was the recipient of the League of Chicago Theatres’ Artistic Achievement Award.
Lookingglass continues to expand its artistic, financial, and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Artistic Director Heidi Stillman, Executive Director Rachel L. Fink, Producing Director Philip R. Smith, Connectivity and Engagement Director Andrew White, General Manager Michele Anderson, a 24-member artistic ensemble, 23 artistic associates, an administrative staff, and a dedicated board of directors led by Chair Nancy Timmers and President Richard Chapman. For more information, visit lookingglasstheatre.org.
Year of Chicago Theatre
Lookingglass 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. Learn more at chicagoplays.com/year-of-chicago-theatre/.
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