The People of Chicago
Kristiana Rae Colón
Skye Robinson Hillis
The Running Mate
The Greenhouse Theater Center
All performances were held at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago 60614.
OCTAGON by Kristiana Colón has won the 2014 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays! The plays were Outside/Inside by Jenny Seidelman; Helen Young, Director; Neal Ryan Shaw, Dramaturg. Octagon by Kristiana Rae Colón; Tara Branham, Director; Hutch Pimentel, Dramaturg. The People of Chicago by Helen Valenta; Jen Poulin, Director; Maggie Carlin, Dramaturg. The Running Mate by Skye Robinson Hillis; Andrea Dymond, Director: Jesse Roth, Dramaturg. Sarah Grant is the Festival Producer. Artistic Director: Richard Engling
About the plays.
Thursday, July 10 @ 7:30pm -- The Running Mate
Friday, July 11 @ 7:30pm -- The People of Chicago
Saturday, July 12 @ 7:30pm -- Outside/Inside
Sunday, July 13 @ 2:00pm -- Octagon
Thursday, July 17 @ 7:30pm -- The Running Mate
Friday, July 18 @ 7:30pm -- Octagon
Saturday, July 19 @ 7:30pm -- Outside/Inside
Sunday, July 20 @ 2:00pm -- The People of Chicago
| 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 provided the playwrights with feedback from the cast, crew and a live audience. Many playwrights revised 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 upcoming September, 2014 production of Miracles in the Fall by Chuck O'Connor, last season's Jeff-winning Never the Bridesmaid by Bill Jepsen, The White Airplane by Darren Callahan in 2009, The Good Harvest by Lisa Rosenthal in 2010, and Ephemera by Bryce Wissel and Kabulitis by Keith Anwar, both in 2011.
How to Vote
Voting took place after the final performance on Sunday, July 20th.
About the Plays
Octagon by Kristiana Rae Colón FESTIVAL WINNER!
After Tahrir and Wall St get occupied, after the NSA taps all the phones and Syria kills all the journalists, the poets have much to say. Amidst the backdrop of a last-minute poetry slam, eight young poets traverse stages and the tightropes of their braided desires. Chimney, Chad, and Palace have an open slot on their team, and five other poets compete for it. The fiercest contender, Prism, is a woman with an appetite she's not ashamed of, but the reigning champs have a hard time seeing her as more than a good-time girl. As love triangles become pentagons and octagons, Prism's unbridled desires threaten to have her silenced for good. With three minutes to sway the judges, eight poets must decide which is more important, the points or the poetry, the privilege of free speech and expression, or the celebrity that comes along. Octagon rips open the clichés of the open mic, asking the cost of making a spectacle of ripping open our wounds.
Cast: Julian Parker - Atticus, Ayinde Cartman - Palace, Gregory Geffrard - Chad, Erynn Mackenzie - Prism, Zarinah Ali - Jericho, Caren Blackmore - the watcher named pen, Antoine Whitfield - Tide, Dominique Worsley - Chimney
The Running Mate by Skye Robinson Hillis
In The Running Mate, a presidential campaign functions as a battle ground for the candidate and his equally successful wife. As they struggle to navigate America’s changing political climate and weave in and out of favor with the electorate, they must also find the balance of happiness, fulfillment, and sacrifice between the two parties of their own marriage across fifty states and fourteen months’ time.
Cast: Governor Andrew Cobb - David Parkes, Eliza "Liz" Stone Cobb - Janet Ulrich Brooks*, Rand Marsh - Randy Steinmeyer*, Jane McCaskill - Lindsey Pearlman, Felix Klein - Sean Sinitski, Mallory Cobb - Alyssa Thordarson, Joy Cobb - Shantelle Szyper, Senator Claire Reynolds - Elaine Rivkin*
*member of Actors Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers.
The People of Chicago by Helen Valenta
Allie’s depressed. Her cat’s depressed. Her father wants her to get married -- now. Her friends are slackers. Who can you turn to for help in the big city? Who else but the people around you: the people of Chicago. . .
Cast: Allie - Miden Wood, Val - Dave Skvarla, Borya/Dr. Bobby/Crossing Guard/Tim/Man - Ben Kaye, Ruth - Cat Dean, Terry/Rotten/Waiter - Zachary Kirk Lutz, Gizmo/Herman/Counter Guy/Fitness Instructor/Mike - Jake Baker, Stage Directions/Stranger/Woman - Julianna Hincks
Outside/Inside by Jenny Seidelman
Outside/Inside is a black comedy that explores race and cultural identity in the modern era. When Chinese American Ken meets the China-born, American-raised daughter of his white boss, his ideas about assimilation and who “owns” a culture are turned on their heads. Suddenly, he is certain that he and his white wife Lacy are the perfect couple to adopt a child from China. All he needs to do is convince Lacy, without offending his boss in the process.
Cast: Ken - Gordon Chow, Lacy - Emily Demko, Hannah - Zhanna Albertini, John - Richard Engling, Ellen - Denise Hoeflich
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 Greenhouse Theater Center for sponsorship and 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.