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Bill Jepsen
Bill Jepsen
Never the Bridesmaid
Helen Valenta
Helen Valenta
The Longing of a Stray Dog
Trina Kakacek
Trina Kakacek
Attachment Disorder
Katie Watson
Pound of Flesh
Richard Engling
Richard Engling

The 2011 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays

The Dionysos Cup.

How to vote.
Congratulations to Trina Kakacek who won the 2011 Dionysos Cup for her script Attachment Disorder. And congrats to her director Adam Webster and dramaturg Jamie Bragg and cast members Nick Inzeo, Meg Elliott, Hilary Holbrook, Dave Belden and Gary Murphy!

The 2011 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays featured workshop presentations of five new plays by local playwrights including one by Polarity's artistic director, Richard Engling.

The plays were Attachment Disorder by Trina Kakacek (director Adam Webster , dramaturg Jamie Bragg), Never the Bridesmaid by Bill Jepsen (director Mary Ellen O'Hara, dramaturg Kim Boler), Pound of Flesh by Katie Watson, (director Devorah Richards, dramaturg Richard Engling) The Longing of a Stray Dog by Helen Valenta (director Jaimie-Lee Wise, dramaturg David Fehr) and Absolution by Richard Engling (director Maggie Speer, dramaturg Ann Keen). Stage manager: Walker Josephine. About the plays.

The Schedule:
Friday, May 13th @ 7:30pm: Pound of Flesh
Saturday, May 14th @ 7:30pm: Absolution
Sunday, May 15th @ 2:00pm: Never the Bridesmaid

Thursday, May 19th @ 7:30pm: The Longing of a Stray Dog
Friday, May 20th @ 7:30pm: Attachment Disorder
Saturday, May 21st @ 7:30pm: Never the Bridesmaid
Sunday, May 22nd @ 2:00pm: Pound of Flesh

Friday, May 27th @ 7:30pm: Attachment Disorder
Saturday, May 28th @ 7:30pm: The Longing of a Stray Dog
Sunday, May 29th @ 2:00pm: Absolution

The five scripts were each performed twice over three 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. Most 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.
Come, drink to new theatre!
The Award

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 and Ephemera, a wacky sci-fi comedy in outer space, by Bryce Wissel, March 22 – May 1, 2011. We presented the 2010 Cup winner, Keith Anwar's Kabulitis in the 2011-12 season.

About the Plays

Absolution by Richard Engling. Novelist Matthew Harken has written a book in tribute to his dear friend Anna who killed herself—but Anna's ghosts are not pleased. They take Matthew back into her memories to find the truth of her life and legacy. Absolution is a play about fiction, reality and life after death.

Absolution features Matthew — Michael Welles*; Anna — Tamara Todres; Little Anna — Meghann Tabor; Afterlife Anna — Julie Partyka; Carol Bergé and Lily — Tina Thuerwachter; Elliott — Tristan Brandon; Heath Ledger and The Man — Kaelan Strouse; Dipoko — Garland Jones; Colin — Andrew Kepka

Attachment Disorder by Trina Kakacek. What if your mother, whom you've never met, and then the adoptive father who gave you away the second time, all showed up for your eighteenth birthday to make amends and save you from the situation they left you in – and they made those amends - in cash? Attachment Disorder explores family, forgiveness, nature vs. nurture, videotape, and the value of a human life – in cash.

Attachment Disorder features Cooper – Nick Inzeo; Brett – Dave Belden; Sophia – Hilary Holbrook*; Ben – Gary Murphy; Iris – Meg Elliott

The Longing of a Stray Dog by Helen Valenta. A beautiful older woman. A man prone to silence. A handsome drifter. Three desperate characters intersect one deadly hot weekend in Chicago. When one of them commits a shocking act of violence, a fourth character enters. . . the most desperate of all.

The Longing of a Stray Dog features Eve — Andrea Lucius; Darlene — Kera Evans; Will — Tesh Malhotra; Kurt — Mike Dunbar

Never the Bridesmaid by Bill Jepsen. Maria and Anthony are twins preparing for their parents' 40th anniversary party. Maria has been widowed once and divorced twice. Anthony hasn't dated in four years and doesn't plan to anytime soon. Yet they both have a lot to say about the other's love life. Never the Bridesmaid is a comedy about children living in the shadow of their parent's perfect marriage.

Never the Bridesmaid features Maria – Meg Elliott; Anthony – Edwin Unger; Elmer – Gary Murphy; Doris – Judy Loyd; Kathleen – Candice Johnson; Brian – Matthew Gibson; Therese – Heather Connelly

Pound of Flesh by Katie Watson. Emily is an anxious Chicago liberal on a road trip in South Carolina, where her family used to own slaves. Emily finds her African-American "cousin" Cheryl and tries to make amends, but her desire for easy reconciliation is thwarted when she learns Cheryl needs an organ donor. Interwoven with scenes from the 1860s, this play explores the state of integration in the age of Obama and asks: What must we do to make up for the crimes of the past?

Pound of Flesh features Alex – Josh Odor; Emily – Abigail Trabue*; Denise/Ada – Kelli Nelson; Cheryl – Elaine Bell; Keith – Wesley Saint Louis; Officer James Cleveland Archer/Jacob Sr. – Gary Murphy; Buddy/Jacob Jr. – Andrew Hann; Margaret – Joyce Porter; Laughlin – Howard Raik; Dr. Gantt – Terrence Mosley; Narrator – Candice Johnson

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.

Polarity Ensemble Theatre is a member of the League of Chicago Theatres.
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