Nothing Without a Company is proud to present the world premiere of The Soccer Player in the Closet, written by Ryan Oliveira, and directed by Christopher Sylvie. 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 the second floor loft of Christy Webber Farm and Garden, 2833 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60612*. Tickets are priced between $5 - 30, and are now available at NothingWithoutaCompany.org. The press opening is Thursday, February 14th, 7pm.
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 shared insight on taking the role of a director for a full length production for the first time, and how his personal experience propelled him toward directing this work: "Over the past six years I have worn a lot of hats in my theatrical career both onstage and behind the scenes, so when I was approached about directing a show with Nothing Without a Company it seemed like a great challenge to take on. To combine both my love for acting and my experience in theatrical design and production, it makes perfect sense that being a director would be my next step. Upon reading ‘The Soccer Player in the Closet’ by Ryan Oliveira I felt strongly about the story and thought that it would be a great play to do as my first full length production as a director. While reading about Cristiano's struggles with mental illness and being a gay man in a world that did not openly accept him, I could not help but feel for his struggle through life. I was moved because I saw some of my own experiences reflected in Cristiano. There are a lot of painful memories from a particular time in my life and like Cristiano I suffered through it in silence for a long time before coming to terms with it. If I could have just told others what that was maybe I could have saved a lot of pain for myself, as well as unintentional harm to others. Which is why I like this story because it is filled with secrets. The kind that are too shameful to admit out loud, but are the ones we must admit to ourselves. But there is hope for Cristiano in the family that chooses to surround himself around.”
The cast will feature Rolando Serrano as Cristiano, Amelia Bethel as Leona, Viviana Uribe as Milena, Alex Roggow as Bastian, and Kyle Mayes as Cobi.
The production team includes Heather Jencks (Asst. Director), Hannah Herrera Greenspan (Dramaturge), Levi Donnell (Stage Manager), Hayley Wallenfeldt (Scenic/Props Designer), Xavier Lagunas (Sound Designer), Kate Lass (Violence Choreographer and Intimacy Choreographer), Satoe Schechner (Costume Designer), and Benjamin Hampikian (Lighting 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 email@example.com.
About Christy Webber Farm & Garden:
Christy Webber Farm & Garden is more than just gorgeous, healthy, locally-sourced plants. We're the place to be if you’re looking for inspiration, design insight, and for true passion about gardening and horticulture. We don’t believe in “brown thumbs” here- we believe everyone can be a successful plant parent, and we’re here to provide all the help you need along the way. As the retail arm of the larger Christy Webber Landscapes family, we carry over Christy’s passion for design and world-class customer service. We offer design, delivery and installation services for container gardens and small spaces at competitive pricing. We vet our growers to ensure our plants are of the highest quality, and grown here in the Midwest (often right down the street!). For more information, visit the website www.cwfng.com and Instagram www.instagram.com/cwlfarmgarden/.
* Location update: Please note that the location has been updated to a different address from previous press releases of this play. Please use the address shown here (2833 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60612).
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.
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