Red Tape Theatre’s panel, Playing with Plays, was presented on Sunday, October 11, alongside the world premiere of Mouse in a Jar. The play was developed in our Fresh Eyes Festival and our guests represented a diverse group of companies devoted to new work.
Mission Statements were a recurring theme in the discussion. About Face Theatre’s xyz festival and Tympanic Theatre’s Bastards of Young selected scripts focused on queer issues and science fiction respectively. American Theatre Company’s play initiatives focus revolve around the question “what does it mean to be an American.” Each company receives hundreds of submissions and depend upon their missions to select works for further development. Emerging playwrights were encouraged to target their submissions to companies with similar focus rather than bending their work to a conflicting mission or aesthetic. Companies seeking experimental and non-linear works have to engage in extensive outreach to like-minded playwrights. Mr. Perez commented that 30 years ago Chicago Dramatists felt the odd man out for focusing on new work, whereas now they part of an exciting local and national movement.
When asked about the process of securing a second production the panelists agreed that the focus on emerging work made this a challenge. They agreed with Ms. Davis’ statement that a play is not “done” when the first production closes and that a second production can allow a playwright to utilize what they learned from the first audience. Mr. Gerace stated that for this reason the second production is as important as the first.
The Jeff Awards has been honoring outstanding theatre artists annually since it was established in 1968. With up to 50 members representing a wide variety of backgrounds in theatre, the Jeff Awards is committed to celebrating the vitality of Chicago area theatre by recognizing excellence through its recommendations, awards, and honors.
Come see Mouse in a Jar, Thursdays through Sundays till October 31. Tickets are available through our website and selling fast!
Join Mouse in a Jar's playwright, Martyna Majok and Director Daria Davis in a discussion with local theatre artists on the topic of creating new and original work. Moderated by Red Tape's Paul Miller, this is an event for theatre practitioners and theatre enthusiasts alike.
Our panel includes:
Stephanie M. Acosta, Founding Artistic Director of the Anatomy Collective. With TAC Stephanie has directed the multi-disciplinary performances such as Many Things are Destroying Me, the Prometheus Myth, Orphan Works Series w/Chicago Underground Library & Monster/girl. Currently showing Gone created in partnership with the Chicago Parks District for Chicago Artists Month, running Oct. 2-17.
Daniel Caffrey is Artistic Director of the Tympanic Theatre Company, which he founded in 2007. He has worked as a writer, director, and occasional actor with companies including Chicago Dramatists, Dramatis Personae, Dream Theatre, Hobo Junction, iO, The Side Project and Victory Gardens. Upcoming projects include Bags Of Blood (WildClaw Theatre), Yukon Cornelius (ARFTCO), Folkfire (Tympanic), and writing and directing for Tell It & Speak It & Think It & Breathe It (The Ruckus).
Jason W. Gerace is Artistic Associate of American Theater Company. At ATC Jason has assistant directed Speech & Debate (Jeff nomination for Best Direction, PJ Paparelli) and the 2008 production of It’s a Wonderful Life under the direction of Damon Kiely; He has produced and directed the inaugural production of the Chicago Chronicle project directed the most recent remount of Oklahoma, produced and directed in this year’s Big Shoulders Festival, produced the first 10X10 Festival, and is curating the upcoming 25 Festival of new plays.
Internationally produced playwright M.E.H. Lewis is author of Fellow Travellers (Jeff award), Creole (5 BTA nominations), and Burying the Bones (Jeff nomination), an ensemble member at Stage Left and Infamous Commonwealth, resident at Chicago Dramatists, and member of the Dramatists Guild. She's currently workshopping Musica Mundana with InFusion and preparing for SLT's production of Here Where It's Safe.
Richard Perez is the Associate Artistic Director for Chicago Dramatists. He recently ended his seven year tenure as the Producing Artist Director of the Bloomington Playwrights Project in Indiana. In that time he oversaw the production of over thirty new mainstage plays, with at least sixteen of those being world premieres.
Dav Yendler is a director, illustrator, playwright, and graphic designer living in Chicago. Originally from Northern California, Dav moved to the city to explore the fascinating new theatre that only this city can make. As Artistic Coordinator for About Face Theatre, Dav works closely with Artistic Director Bonnie Metzgar to develop AFT’s most innovative work.