The Artistic Home Ensemble’s first production of the 2019-20 Chicago Theatre Season will be the world premiere of VANYA ON THE PLAINS, a Chekhovian tragicomedy by Jason Hedrick, Director of the O’Neil Theatre and Instructor of Theatre and Speech at John A. Logan College in Carterville, IL. Hedrick’s play imagines a future totalitarian society in which in-person human interaction is greatly diminished and daily life experiences are detached from reality in favor of digital virtual reality experiences. The “plains” of the title is a barren land only somewhat more livable than the neighboring sector, the Outlands. In an attempt to acquaint his family and friends with real-time and real-space personal interaction and genuine relationships, the 79-year old Elijah convinces them to perform Chekhov’s UNCLE VANYA despite the fact that the younger members of the family have never seen a play and have no conception of acting.
VANYA ON THE PLAINS will be directed by The Artistic Home’s Associate Artistic Director Kayla Adams, who helmed the company’s Jeff-nominated production of HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE last year. Playing the septuagenarian Elijah will be ensemble member Frank Nall, whose recent credits include FRANKENSTEIN with Remy Bumppo and BY THE BOG OF CATS with The Artistic Home. His acerbic mother-in-law Gayle will be played by Artistic Director Kathy Scambiatterra. Mark Pracht, who won a Jeff Award this year for the title role of the company’s REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT, will play Carl, who is sexually involved with Elijah’s daughter Anka (Katherine Schwartz, of DEAR BRUTUS with Eclectic Full Contact Theatre). Brookelyn Hebert, currently appearing Ada Lovelace in the company’s ADA AND THE ENGINE, has been cast as Caprice, a friend of Elijah’s granddaughter Sophia (Ariana Lopez). Caprice and Sophia are meeting in person for the first time after years of only digital contact. Also in the cast are Ben Zarbock (Nicolas), Eric Simon (Barry), Ernest Henton (NCTP 1) and Karla Corona (NCTP 2). The design team includes Kevin Hagan (set design), Zachery Wagner (costume design), Jeff award-winner Petter Wahlback (sound design) and Mark Bracken (lighting design). Edmond Hood will be stage manager.
The Artistic Home will produce a three-play season in 2019-20. Further details on the remainder of the season will be announced shortly.
Jason Hedrick (playwright). Jason’s works include THE BIG JASON HEDRICK’S TENNESSEE WILLIAMS’ CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF SHOW: THE PLAY THAT NEVER WAS, Kurt Vonnegut’s THE EUPHIO QUESTION, 4 FILMS, THE FINAL CHAPTER OF NIC CARTER: THE PRICE, and VANYA ON THE PLAINS, which was published in TEXT AND PERFORMANCE QUARTERLY in 2018. His work has been produced and developed mostly in Southern Illinois by The Greylight Theater, where he assistant directed in the early 2000’s, and through Southern Illinois University in the Marion Kleinau Theater of Performance Studies and the Christian H. Moe Lab Theatre. He received the Marion Kleinau Award in 2017 and has been the recipient of two Christian H. Moe Playwriting Awards. His directorial work on Anna Wilcoxen’s IN SERVICE OF VENUS was recently featured at the Strawdog Theater as part of the Chicago Theater Marathon. He was Director of the Dr. Jerry Weston Mathis Theatre at Sauk Valley College in Dixon, IL between 2001 and 2011. He is currently Director of the O’Neil Theatre and Instructor of Theatre and Speech at John A. Logan College in Carterville, IL. His next play, BRIGITTE ANSWERS THE DOOR, is about the silent film actress Brigitte Helm.
Kayla Adams (director). Kayla is a Chicago based director, producer, teaching artist. Most recently Kayla directed The Artistic Home’s Jeff-nominated production of HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE. She completed a directing internship at The Artistic Home where she produced and directed for the annual CUT THE CHASE FESTIVAL, assistant directed THE SCHOOL FOR LIES, and stage managed BY THE BOG OF CATS. Other directing credits include WIT (Fairhaven Summer Rep) QUALITY: THE SHOE PLAY (Bellingham TheatreWorks), OFFICE HOURS (The Idiom Theatre) and THE ALIENS at The National Autonomous University of Mexico (Mexico City). THE ALIENS was part of Teatro UNAM’s annual international festival, and was later toured to KCACTF Region VII and the greater Seattle area. She acted as Assistant Director for The Summer Youth Theatre Institute (WA state), and as lead teacher and coordinator in the Bellingham Public Schools after-school arts enrichment program. Kayla holds a degree in Theatre Arts from Western Washington University. Acting credits include ROCK ‘N’ ROLL (The Artistic Home) and POOL: NO WATER (Witness Theatre Company).
ABOUT THE ARTISTIC HOME
The Artistic Home is noted for their innovative and intimate presentations of rarely-produced classics as well developing new works. The company was one of the big winners in the 2019 Jeff Awards, with four awards including Production of a Play, Director of a Play, Principal Performer in a Play and Sound Design, all for REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT. The company was also Jeff-nominated in 2019 for ROCK ‘N’ ROLL and in 2018 for HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE. Other memorable productions of recent years include 2017’s WEDDING BAND, BY THE BOG OF CATS and THE SCHOOL FOR LIES; their Jeff-nominated productions of THE SEAGULL, WATCH ON THE RHINE, MACBETH and THE LATE HENRY MOSS; and their 2013 Jeff Award-winner THE GODDESS. Other Artistic Home productions include the Jeff-Award-winning production of JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK, which also received three After Dark Awards, the Jeff-Nominated SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, THE TALLEST MAN, LANDSCAPE OF THE BODY, NATURAL AFFECTION, FIVE WOMEN WEARING THE SAME DRESS, AFTER THE FALL and PEER GYNT (which also received an After Dark award for Direction).
For more than 20 years, The Artistic Home has consistently produced compelling theatre in Chicago. First formed in 1998 with the belief that the actor is at the heart of great theater, the company strives to give birth to unforgettable moments; to touch audiences who are increasingly distanced from human contact; to readdress the classics and explore new works with passion.
VANYA ON THE PLAINS
By Jason Hedrick
Directed by Kayla Adams
September 11 – October 27, 2019
Previews Wednesday, September 11- Saturday, September 14 at 8:00 pm
Press Opening Sunday, September 15 at 7:00 pm
Regular schedule Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 3:00 pm
Preview Tickets are $15. Regular prices are $28 for Thursday or Sunday (seniors & students $20), $32 for Friday or Saturday.
The Artistic Home Theatre
1376 W. Grand Avenue, Chicago 60642
tickets: 866/811-4111 or go to http://www.theartistichome.org/
Accessible via the CTA #65 Grand bus and the Blue Line.
Elijah has a hard job. He’s a Content Moderator, coping with the technological divide that separates him from his family. To bridge the gap, he casts them in a production of Chekhov’s UNCLE VANYA. But, putting on a play in the Plains proves a strange and difficult endeavor, since Theatre has been long forgotten. Part Chekhovian comedy, and part Absurdist futurism, VANYA ON THE PLAINS explores the erosion of embodied existence in relation to growing realms of digital content, evolving communications technologies, and environmental degradation.
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