Miracles in the Fall
Once Upon a Time in Detroit
Witness to an Accident
All performances were held at our space in the Josephinum Academy, 1500 N. Bell, Chicago.
Congratulations to Chuck O'Connor, winner of the 2013 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays for Miracles in the Fall!
The festival featured workshop presentations of four new plays by local playwrights. The plays were Once Upon a Time in Detroit by Steven Simoncic, directed by Jen Poulin. Sarah Grant, dramaturg. Miracles in the Fall by Chuck O'Connor, directed by Josh Sobel. Michael Manocchio, dramaturg. Witness to an Accident by Darren Callahan, directed by Wm. Bullion. Sarah Grant, dramaturg. White America by Reginald Edmund, directed by David Amaral. Brittany Westfall, dramaturg. Stage Manager: Walker Jones. Casting Director: Molly Lyons. Box Office/Business Manager: Samantha Stelmack. Artistic Director: Richard Engling
About the plays.
Thursday, May 16th @ 7:30pm: Once Upon a Time in Detroit
Friday, May 17th @ 7:30pm: Miracles in the Fall
Saturday, May 18th @ 7:30pm: Witness to an Accident
Sunday, May 19th @ 2:00pm: White America
Thursday, May 23rd @ 7:30pm: Witness to an Accident
Friday, May 24th @ 7:30pm: White America
Saturday, May 25th @ 2:00pm: Anna in the Afterlife (free bonus performance - not part of competition)
Saturday, May 25th @ 7:30pm: Once Upon a Time in Detroit
Sunday, May 26th @ 2:00pm: Miracles in the Fall
| The four scripts were each performed twice over two weekends. These were polished workshop performances to bring out the best qualities of the scripts.
The selected playwrights received two initial critiques in early February followed by time and support in revising their scripts before rehearsals began for the workshop readings. The performances were followed by open discussions that will provide the playwrights with feedback from the cast, crew and a live audience. Many playwrights revise their scripts again before the second performances. Past participating playwrights have hailed the Dionysos Cup as one of the most valuable script development processes of its kind.
We model the festival after the City Dionysia, the ancient Greek festival that honored the god Dionysos with new drama. Like the original, this festival will be a competition, with the audience deciding who will receive the Dionysos Cup. Accompanied by a bottle of wine, the Dionysos Cup itself is a one-of-a-kind blown glass artwork created for the occasion by local artist and Polarity patron, James Hobart.
Polarity regularly takes Dionysos Cup scripts to full production, including The White Airplane by Darren Callahan in 2009, The Good Harvest by Lisa Rosenthal in 2010, Ephemera by Bryce Wissel in 2011, Kabulitis by Keith Anwar in 2011, Adrift by David Alex in 2012, and Never the Bridesmaid by Bill Jepsen in 2013 (Jeff nominated for Best New Work, Jeff Winner for Lindsey Pearlman, Best Actress in a Principal Role).
About the Plays
Miracles in the Fall by Chuck O'Connor Festival Winner
Clare Connelly, a Dominican Sister in 1968 Detroit, is the caretaker of her alcoholic father and the keeper of her dead mother's virtue. She is challenged by the indignity of her infirm father, the confidence of a maverick priest's intimacy, and the self-crippling family secret revealed upon the return of her prodigal brother. Clare must question her desire for holiness and accept that survival is a very human act of self-forgiveness.
Cast: CLARE CONNOLLY - Robyn Coffin, FATHER LENTINE - Nick Freed, CHARLIE CONNOLLY - Craig Cunningham, JIMMY CONNOLLY - Fred Wellisch
Once Upon a Time in Detroit by Steven Simoncic
In a forgotten corner of Detroit where smoke stacks tower over industrial runoff and power lines dot a landscape of burned out homes and broken families, there is a pimp-turned-preacher looking for redemption, a stripper-turned-nurse looking for justice, and Lorelie--who just wants a baby.
Cast: LORELIE: Leslie Zang, HELEN: Heidi Katz, MYRA: Yunuen Pardo, POWDER: Antoine Pierre Whitfield, LONNIE: Vincent Lavell Deamon, TRYG: John Crosthwaite, LORETTA LYNN: Mary Jo Bolduc
Witness to an Accident by Darren Callahan
1950s L.A. Agatha Moll is a rising young actress who suddenly finds herself locked in "The Hotel"--an all-female sanitarium. But, she's not crazy. What secrets does she know that trapped her in this fate? Could it be something about Ray Pendarsky, a film executive, whose daughter was committed to The Hotel one year before? Or is it regarding Dean Foster, her director, whom she's entangled with in a torrid affair? At the mercy of a sadistic orderly and a failed ingenue named Lillian, will she ever find her way out of The Hotel? This horror-noir features a mostly female cast, blood and violence effects, and mature themes.
Cast: LILLIAN - Sarah Scanlon, NURSE KISSUM - Bergen Anderson, DR. FREDERICKS - Maggie Speer, AGATHA MOLL - Casey Cunningham, RAY PENDARSKY - Brian Alan Hill, DEAN FOSTER - Bob Kruse, THE ORDERLY - Beau Forbes, CHORUS/NANCY - Kate Booth, CHORUS/NANCY - Alaina Dawn Sharp, CHORUS - Sarah Brooks, CHORUS - Kate Nawrocki
White America by Reginald Edmund
In Reginald Edmund's White America, it's Thanksgiving dinner for the illustrious Whites, a political powerhouse family within the Republican Party that proudly traces its roots to the founding of the United States. Dinner turns to a debacle when the son, Justin, brings home his new wife and a secret that could shake the family tree to its core.
Cast: Robert White - Paul Pasulka, Tilly White - Barbara Roeder Harris, Justin White - Alex Fthenakis, Maria - Morgan Diamond, Eileen White-Sommers - Catherine Hermes, Perry Sommers - Dan Lehner, Abraham - Brian Bradford, Sally Sommers - Ashley Darger, Abel White - Jack Engel
Anna in the Afterlife by Richard Engling
(free bonus performance - not part of competition)
Novelist Matthew Harken finds himself in a world where he's not quite alive and not quite dead. His dear friends who have died before him take Matthew back into the past to find the truth about their lives and choices. Anna in the Afterlife was seen in an earlier incarnation as Absolution in our 2011 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays. Directed by Beth Wolf, artistic director of Promethean Theatre Ensemble, Anna in the Afterlife is a play about life, death and life after death. Join us to further shape this exciting new script as we bring it closer to production. The cast will include Kimberly Logan, Molly Lyons, Meghann Tabor, Richard Engling, Kevin Grubb, Michelle Tibble, Maggie Speer, Martin Michaels, Whitney LaMora and Jared Dennis.
The Dionysos Cup is in keeping with our mission to develop new work. The 'Polarity' in our name refers to the poles of the classic and the brand new. We will always be in the business of developing new homegrown scripts and bringing them to the stage. Another Polarity is in bringing works to both the stage and the page. Polarity has published two volumes of plays to date.
Special thanks to The Saints for a grant benefitting The Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays.
Polarity Ensemble Theatre is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres.