Nothing Without a Company is proud to announce casting for the world premiere of The Soccer Player in the Closet, written by Ryan Oliveira, and directed by Christopher Sylvie (Director) and Heather Jencks (Asst. Director). The Soccer Player in the Closet previews February 11th - 13th, 7 - 9pm, and runs February 14th to March 10th, on every Thursday to Sunday, 7 - 9pm, at Christy Webber Landscapes, 2900 W. Ferdinand St., Chicago IL. Tickets are priced between $5 - 30, and are now available at NothingWithoutaCompany.org. The press opening is February 14th, 7pm.
The Soccer Player in the Closet will feature Rolando Serrano as Cristiano, Amelia Bethel as Leona, Viviana Uribe as Milena, Alex Roggow as Bastian, and Kyle Mayes as Cobi.
Queer relationships, toxic masculinity, sexual relationships, depression, body image, failure, familial expectations, privilege.
The Soccer Player in the Closet tells the story of Cristiano - a top-ranked online soccer player - has never stepped out of his apartment. He finally leaves the apartment, but leaves a strange stench his cousin, friend, and landlady can't seem to get out. Through Internet magic and video games, they work to unearth the root of the rotten juju. What they uncover is how difficult it is to move forward from the painful secrets and closets they've built for themselves and Cristiano.
The play is mostly written in English with pockets of Spanish and Portuguese. English speaking audiences will be able to understand the other two languages based on the tone, rhythm, acting, and context. The Soccer Player in the Closet is meant to both challenge and immerse audiences through the multiple languages living in the play.
Oliveira wrote The Soccer Player in the Closet from the center of a complex consisting of depressions, queerness, family acceptance, and sporting communities. Oliveira says, “I wrote this play in 2015 in a depression after moving to Chicago. I recently came out to my mother, which didn't end well. I lay in bed a lot over several months, trying to recover from personal failures as a playwright and human being. From those failures sprung this play. Queer loneliness is a looming theme in my work. Gay men of color don't have many healthy models of masculinity so we often have to create them from damaged goods - machismo, colorism, silence. Depression is rarely talked about in Latinx communities; it's often received as inadequacy. ”
Oliveira goes on to explain the pressing necessity of examining familial pressure on queerness and the depression caused, queerness in sports communities, as well as what it means to be gay men of color: “We're still talking - or not talking - about depression and queerness in our own families, and even in sporting communities. Parents were still denying their gay children's existence after the Pulse shooting in 2016. Brazil is now riding a wave of conservative, militant lash against queer folx as the cause of all their economic problems. Gay men are still closeted in sports communities. Gay men of color need better models of masculinity that aren't actively silencing them, and while this play isn't a cure, I hope that it can move the conversation forward.”
Sylvie pointed out how the play relates to everyone and bridges what’s missing in today’s theatre: “Ryan's The Soccer Player in the Closet has a lot to offer to modern day audiences. One it's a queer story that follows a person of color, which is narrative we unfortunately do not get to see onstage or in the media. This gives the story an extra layer because there is more going on beneath the surface than just one's sexual identity. But even though it's a queer person of color story there is something for everyone because universally the play is ultimately about moving on. Moving on from pain, the past, loss, guilt, etc. And in doing so finding community through futbol, video games, friends, family, a relationship, even spiritually. All these characters are lonely in some form or another whether it appears that they are suffering or not. That's why I am excited to embark on this journey. To discover what is lying between the text, as well as the words already on the page.”
The production team includes Hannah Herrera Greenspan (Dramaturge), Hayley Wallenfeldt (Scenic/Props Designer), Xavier Lagunas (Sound Designer), Kate Lass (Violence Choreographer and Intimacy Choreographer), and Satoe Schechner (Costume Designer).
Preview tickets are $10 each, and advance preview tickets purchased by Jan 14th are $5 each.
General admissions during the show run are $25 each online, $30 each at the door, and $20 each when purchased by Jan 14th. Nothing Without a Company offers half-price student and industry discounts upon requests sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nothing Without a Company is planting theatre around Chicago with all forms of media to empower self and community through immersive and revolutionary acts of art in site-specific and reclaimed environments.