The New Colony is pleased to present UNCHARTED, a two-week showcase of plays at different points in their journeys to production, playing July 11 – 20, 2019 at TNC’s resident home, The Den Theatre (2B) 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets will go on sale in June at www.thenewcolony.org
The New Colony’s UNCHARTED Festival playwrights include (top, l to r) Fin Coe, Grace McLeod, Michael Turrentine, Mario (Mars) Wolfe, Christina Renee Jones, Patriac Coakley and Evan Linder. Directors include (bottom, l to r) Elyse Dolan, James Fleming, Toma Tavares Langston, Rinska Carrasco-Prestinary, Dani Wieder, Megan Johns and Zach Weinberg.
UNCHARTED is a two-week festival showcasing bold new works from Chicago playwrights developed, incubated and curated by The New Colony. The company provides Chicago playwrights with support from professional directors, actors and designers to help them take the next step in the creation of a new work. UNCHARTED was founded in recognition and celebration of the Chicago community’s passion for creating and producing new American plays and aims to connect audiences and theatrical producers with today’s stories and tomorrow’s playwrights. Each offering will receive two presentations over the course of the festival.
Comments The New Colony Co-Artistic Directors Fin Coe and Stephanie Shum, "The New Colony's pipeline is full of intriguing new plays, more than we could ever give a production to. UNCHARTED is our attempt to break the cycle of wonderful, timely new plays staying undiscovered and unproduced. We've curated a selection of promising new stories that deserve to be showcased for other Chicago theatres to see and hear. Our ensemble and staff are applying our decade of new play development experience to connecting these plays and their playwrights with the organizations that are hungry for contemporary scripts that fit their aesthetic and mission. We're confident that this matchmaking will result in more new Chicago classics finding homes and productions."
The UNCHARTED line-up includes:
Written by Fin Coe*
Directed by Elyse Dolan
In the summer of 2001, a brilliant physicist sets up shop in her family's cabin and gathers a team of scientists for one wild, irresistible purpose: build a machine to get them all the hell out of their awful timeline.
Written by Grace McLeod
Directed by James Fleming
When Alex gets hired at a Halloween pop-up store in the suburbs of Chicago, she's thrilled to start her gap year with her first real job. As she and her older, jaded co-workers scramble to meet their sales goal and push superhero capes and fake blood on strangers, they each struggle to distinguish the masks they wear from the masks they sell. Scare Me is a queer coming-of-age comedy about the fear of being yourself, the desire to be somebody else, and the danger of getting attached to something that was always meant to be temporary.
IF ONLY ONCE
Written by Michael Turrentine
Directed by Toma Tavares Langston
Ryan and Tyler live in a quaint little house in the near suburbs of Chicago. They’ve been married two years, are insatiably in love, and thinking of starting a family in the near future. But when Ryan asks his ex-wife of four years, Lona, to be the surrogate mother, Tyler is forced to dive deep into Ryan’s past, to see his husband in a way he never thought possible. If Only Once is a story of feeling trapped inside our own lives and poses the question: do we ever really know the people we choose to love?
BERTHA VAN ATION 3.0 (birth-of-a-nation 3 point-oh)
Written by Mario (Mars) Wolfe
Directed by Rinska Carrasco-Prestinary
Genesis double oh seven. Sometime after Adam and Eve learned to fart and fornicate and much after the Twin Towers. Oprah Shy X (Shy) and Oprah Shy Y (O) set out to recall the story of their escape from incarceration and enslavement. Their brother, Cole, steers the whip to freedom, using 8-oh-8 to guide the Odyssey. The siblings find their task to be a tall order when the memories of the Privileged and their genetic experiments resurface. Scientists, Sanitation Workers, and a Nurse join the Children on their quest for truth within recycled myths, parables, and trap beats.
THE PUPPET PLAY
Written by Christina Renee Jones
Directed by Dani Wieder
Julie grew up following all the rules. While she aced her youth, she is currently flunking adulting. After years of horrible luck, bad decisions and undiagnosed mental illnesses, Julie decides she just can’t deal with it anymore. Until one night, when her reality is transformed into the world of her favorite childhood public television show, "Puppet Playhouse." Sunny days, the air is sweet, and the arts and crafts made streets are populated with irritating, singing puppets. The Puppet Play is brought to you by the letters F: for embracing Friendship, M: for tackling Mental illnesses, and L: for learning to Love yourself.
Bits & Pieces Series (presented together in one program as scripts still in process):
LETTS WRITE A PLAY
Written by Patriac Coakley*
Directed by Megan Johns*
After winning a raffle at a benefit, two members of a struggling Chicago storefront theatre go to a famous Chicago playwright’s house for dinner. Resentment brews under conversation and intentions for the evening are revealed to go beyond a dinner… and maybe the law.
JO & LIV
Written by Evan Linder*
Directed by Zach Weinberg
Liv has accepted her estranged sister Jo’s invitation to spend Christmas together with their families in New York in 1961. With years of hurt between them, they hope this can be their chance to finally exhume all the skeletons in their closets. Or at least the contentious Academy Award stuffed in the cupboard. Jo & Liv is at turns hysterical and heartbreaking as it explores two legendary Hollywood siblings who love each other fiercely, but love their grudges more. Jo & Liv was commissioned as part of the Goodman Theatre's 2017 Playwright Unit.
*Denotes The New Colony Ensemble Member
UNCHARTED Performance Schedule:
Thursday, July 11 at 7:30 pm
Friday, July 12 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, July 13 at 3 pm & 7:30 pm
Sunday, July 14 at 3 pm & 7:30 pm
Monday July 15 at 7:30 pm
Wednesday, July 17 at 7:30 pm
Thursday, July 18 at 7:30 pm
Friday, July 19 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, July 20 at 3 pm & 7:30 pm
Note: a detailed schedule by production will be posted shortly at www.thenewcolony.org.
About the Artists
Fin Coe (Playwright, Other Rockpools) is a Chicago-based theatre artist, and the Co-Artistic Director of The New Colony. A native of Silicon Valley and a graduate of Case Western Reserve University, his past writing credits include Pretty/Windy Theatre Company, Scribble Bibble, A-Squared Theatre, the Sketch Review, and others. Fun Harmless Warmachine is his first full-length play to be produced.
Elyse Dolan (Director, Other Rockpools) is excited to join the New Colony team! Previously at TNC, she directed the Associate Company production of Here After by Evan Sesek and acted as Assistant Director on Kin Folk (dir. Evan Linder). She is the Assistant Producer at American Blues Theater, where she is also an Artistic Affiliate. At Blues, she has directed several short plays in past Ripped festivals and has been Assistant Director on a handful shows including Six Corners (dir. Gary Griffin) and Little Shop of Horrors (dir. Jonathan Berry). Her directing work has been seen across Chicago at Broken Nose Theatre, Prop Thtr, Babes with Blades, Commission Theatre, 20% Theatre Company, Pride Films & Plays, Gorilla Tango Theatre, and more. She has also served as Assistant Director on productions at Raven Theatre, Oracle Theatre, 16th Street Theater and Redtwist Theatre. Elyse holds a B.A. from Denison University.
Grace McLeod (Playwright, Scare Me) is a playwright and screenwriter based in Chicago and New York. She was the recipient of the 2018 Olga and Paul Menn Foundation Prize for Playwriting and a 2017-18 Trellis playwright-in-residence at the Greenhouse Theater Center, where she developed her play Herland (2019 National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere at MOXIE Theatre in San Diego, Redtwist Theatre in Chicago, and Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles). Grace has developed her plays with First Floor Theater, The New Colony, Commission Theatre, American Blues Theater, and the Victory Gardens College Night series, among others. She was a 2013-14 Tribeca Film Fellow and wrote and directed the short film Under the Table, which premiered during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, and co-wrote and produced Local/Express, an experimental short film that screened across Times Square as part of the Midnight Moment Series, the world’s largest, longest-running digital art exhibition. Grace is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago. She is represented by the Gersh Agency.
James Fleming (Director, Scare Me) Chicago-based director, Director of New Works at The New Colony, and Associate Artistic Director at Redtwist Theatre. Recent directing credits include Fun Harmless Warmachine by Fin Coe (The New Colony), Herland by Grace McLeod, Our Town by Thornton Wilder, and Sagittarius Ponderosa by MJ Kaufman (Redtwist Theatre). He has also directed readings, workshops and events for Goodman Theatre, Route 66 Theatre, AstonRep, Broken Nose Theatre, and arc theatre. He's had the pleasure of assistant directing at Goodman Theatre, Court Theatre, and Greenhouse Theatre Center. James worked as part of a collaborative team with Peca Stefan, Tamilla Woodard and Ana Margineanu of PopUp Theatrics to produce the Chicago story for #THENEWOLDHOME, a mix between puzzle, social game, exhibition, audio drama and interactive installation which premiered at CLB Berlin in January 2018. He has served on the literary panels for the National New Play Network's Annual Showcase of New Plays, Route 66's TEST DRIVE and Kitchen Dog Theatre's New Play Festival. James was a participant in the Chicago Directors Lab and a recipient of an SDC Foundation Observership. This fall, he will begin pursuing his MFA in Directing at Yale School of Drama.
Michael Turrentine (Playwright, If Only Once) is mainly an actor around Chicago, appearing at companies including Remy Bumppo, The Gift Theatre, Haven Theatre, Firebrand Theatre, The Lyric Opera, and several others. More recently, he has found himself writing for the theater. He began his writing career writing various short, physical theater shows, some of which traveled around the U.S. However, If Only Once is his first full length play and he is very excited to share it. (Michael will also be writing a piece for Broken Nose Theatre's Bechdel Fest this Summer.) He is represented by Gray Talent Group.
Toma Tavares Langston (Director, If Only Once) is a freelance theater director. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre: Hedwig and The Angry Inch. New Colony: The Light (2018 Joseph Jefferson Nomination for Director – Play). Victory Gardens: 2015 Directors Inclusion Initiative Director Fellowship. (Assistant Director) Sucker Punch. Jackalope Theatre: (Assistant Director) 1980 (or Why I'm Voting for John Anderson). Sideshow Theatre: (Assistant Director) Truth and Reconciliation and Give It All Back. Other directorial credits include The Last Five Years, The Shadow Box, For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf.
Mario (Mars) Wolfe (Playwright, Bertha Van Ation 3.0) is a writer, performance artist and theatre manager from central Florida. Mars’ plays – Bus 74, Turnt the Screw; or a trigger warning and Click Fate – have been read and performed at Victory Gardens, The Arc, Studio@620 and NoMads Art Collective. Mars was recently featured in the ArciTEXT Festival (Goddess, Forbid) and the Activate: Midwest Festival (1st Imani 22nd Six). Mars' play Party Goin On will be produced in New York later this year. Mars is a graduate of the Theatre School at DePaul and the Juilliard Apprentice Program.
Rinska Carrasco-Prestinary (Director, Bertha Van Ation 3.0) is a Dominican-American who is proud member of SAG-AFTRA, Gray Talent Group, Teatro Vista and Associate Artistic Director of Halcyon Theatre. A Columbia College Directing Grad, she has worked alongside companies such as Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Steep, Stage Left, Red Twist, Northlight and Something Marvelous, among many others both on and off stage. Selected directing credits include: Between Riverside and Crazy (Red Twist) Firefly Love (Something Marvelous) The River Bride (Halcyon) Heat Wave (Steppenwolf Garage), Between Pancho Villa and a Naked Woman (Halcyon). Past selected production credits include: Taming of the Shrew Assistant Director (Barbara Gaines/Chicago Shakes), Romeo and Juliet Directing Intern (Marti Lyons/ Chicago Shakes), Fishmen Assistant Director/ Casting Director (Goodman Theatre/Teatro Vista). Select acting credits include: There’s always the Hudson (Goodman New Stages), In the Time of the Butterflies (Teatro Vista), She Kills Monsters (Steppenwolf Garage). She has also been seen on Chicago P.D, Empire, A.P.B and CHI-IRAQ.
Christina Renee Jones (Playwright, The Puppet Play) is a Chicago performer and writer of silly stories. She is an ensemble member of Birch House, a company that focuses on immersive, theatrical experiences. She also writes, performs and goofs around as a company member with Hobo Junction. Other acting credits include City Lit, Otherworld, Midsommer Flight, A Dead Whale Productions, the side project, Promethean, Akvavit, and other theatres that are now defunct. Her writing has been seen in many different forms around town through the Eccentric Expedition, Junior Varsity, the Crowd, Potluck, and Factory Theatre. christinareneejones.com
Dani Wieder (Director, The Puppet Play) is a director of performance and film in Chicago. Recent credits include People in the Wind (Haven Theatre), In the Canyon by Calamity West (dramaturg, Jackalope Theatre), La Ronde (American Theatre Company, CORE), Josephine the Mouse Singer by Franz Kafka (Curious Theatre Branch, Rhinofest), and Miss Julie (University of Chicago). She has assistant directed and dramaturged plays across Chicago at theaters such as at The Goodman Theatre, American Theater Company, Steep Theatre Company, and Court Theatre. Dani is also the Literary Manager of Haven Theatre Chicago. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago. Up next, Dani will be the Associate Director for The Fly Honey Show 10, and her film Cool for Five Seconds will be appearing at festivals around the country. www.daniwieder.com
Patriac Coakley (Playwright, Letts Write a Play) is an ensemble member with The New Colony. He is grateful to be a part of the work. Past works with TNC include Small World, The Bearsuit of Happiness, Frat and That Sordid Little Story. He performs sketch with OPIE and improv with losdosdudes.
Megan Johns (Director, Letts Write a Play) is an improviser, teacher, writer and director who has been living in Chicago for the last 15 years. She is originally from Virginia, where the mountains are blue. In Chicago, Meg has taught improv at The Annoyance for 11 years and instructed collaborative theatre at both The University of Chicago and After School Matters. At The Annoyance, Meg has been in Love is Dead: A Necromantic Musical Comedy, Burlesque is More, and hosted a weekly variety show featuring LGBTQIA and female-identifying performers. She has collaborated with and directed sketch duo OPIE for the last four years and most recently took OPIE: Vol. 2 to The 2018 New York International Fringe Festival. Meg is a proud ensemble member of The New Colony, and there has directed, performed and created devised theatre for the last 10 years, including directing 11:11 and co-writing ReWilding Genius with Andrew Hobgood.
Evan Linder (Playwright, Jo & Liv) is an ensemble member and the founding Co-Artistic Director of The New Colony. He works in Chicago as a playwright, actor and director. He also teaches playwriting at the University of Chicago. Evan is a proud graduate of the College of Charleston, which presented him the Alumnus of the Year award in 2016. His plays include Byhalia Mississippi, 11:11, The Warriors, The Bear Suit of Happiness, B-Side Studio, The Hunted, Jo & Liv and 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, which was named Best Overall Production at the 2012 NYC International Fringe Festival and is published by Samuel French. 5 Lesbians also enjoyed an Off-Broadway run as part of the Soho Playhouse’s 2012-13 season and has seen productions in over 35 States, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Spain, South Africa, Great Britain and Japan. Byhalia, Mississippi (2016 Jeff Award: Best New Work) opens in Washington, D.C. in June 2019 as part of the Kennedy Center’s 2018-19 Season. At The New Colony, Evan continues to teach the Writers Room, an education program he created in 2015 that has now welcomed over 100 emerging Chicago playwrights. evanlinder.com
Zach Weinberg (Director, Jo & Liv) is a Chicago-based theater director, adaptor and administrator. He is interested in the creation of new, non-traditional works and finding the perfect medium for the message. Zach is a company member and Grants Manager at Red Tape Theatre, and a graduate of Oberlin College. Selected directing credits include serving as a Directing Apprentice with the late Redmoon Theatre, the 2016 Director’s Haven at Haven Theatre, two seasons with the Oberlin Summer Theatre Festival, two original adaptations at Curious Theatre Branch’s Rhinofest: Love in a Maze (’17) and MAY DAY (’18), and the world premiere of 2 unfortunate 2 travel, an original semi-devised work, as part of the Prop Thtr’s 2018-19 season. His credits as an assistant director include The New Colony, Organic Theatre Company, Oracle Productions, the Actors' Gymnasium, and Redmoon.
About The New Colony
The New Colony develops New Art and New Artists in order to educate and build New Audiences.
Now in its tenth year, The New Colony has established itself as “one of Chicago’s essential off-Loop companies” (Chicago Tribune). Through the premiere of over thirty premiere plays and musicals, The New Colony has cultivated a diverse audience of theatergoers eager to have a voice in the storytelling. Conversation, collaboration and innovation remain at the heart of everything they produce. The New Colony’s work has been honored with five non-Equity Jeff Awards, Broadway In Chicago’s 2011 Emerging Theatre Award and Best Overall Production at the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival. The New Colony’s 2018/19 Season marks their fourth year as a resident company in the Upstairs Mainstage of The Den Theatre in Wicker Park.